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Covid-hit Aston Villa set to restart season next week

Villa are on course to resume their season next week, with the club thanking medical staff for helping bring their coronavirus outbreak under control.

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Bodymoor Heath is scheduled to reopen on Sunday with Villa’s match against Everton, due to take place that day, now postponed until later in the campaign.

But the club are set to restart their season at Manchester City on Wednesday, with a revised 6pm kick-off, while the league have also rearranged their home match against Newcastle for a week on Saturday to begin clearing the fixture backlog.

Players and staff returning to the training ground will need to return a negative coronavirus test before they can resume work.

Bodymoor was closed last week when nine players and 14 members of staff in total tested positive for the virus.

A Villa statement read: “The club would like to express its immense gratitude to the medical experts who have helped us to get a significant Covid-19 outbreak under control, as well as the Premier League board and our fellow clubs for their understanding during this period.

“We expect that members of the first-team squad and staff who are healthy and safe to return to training will do so on Sunday when the isolation protocols will have been observed.”

The Premier League yesterday agreed to Villa’s request for the Everton match to be postponed, with the club having cited the lack of preparation time available to Smith and his players.

It became the second match to be called off since the outbreak began, with a midweek home fixture against Tottenham also postponed. Villa fielded a team of youth players in last week’s 4-1 FA Cup defeat to Liverpool.

The match against Newcastle was originally postponed last month following a coronavirus outbreak at the North East club’s training ground. It will now take place at 8pm on Saturday, January 23, and be broadcast live on Sky Sports.

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