The Premier League clash between Aston Villa and Everton on Sunday is poised to be postponed due to the COVID-19 outbreak in the Villans camp.
Dean Smith’s side were forced to field an entire team of young debutants for their FA Cup clash with Liverpool on Friday evening after a number of positive tests among the first team forced the club to close their Bodymoor Heath training ground.
Nine first team players and five staff members tested positive, and the first team squad are currently self-isolating. As a result, Wednesday’s scheduled Premier League clash with Tottenham was postponed.
Public Health England guidelines state that those who have tested positive for COVID and those who have come into contact with anyone who has tested positive must self-isolate for 10 days – meaning the earliest the Villa squad can come out of isolation is Sunday 17 January – the day of the Everton clash.
Premier League teams are permitted to postpone a fixture if they cannot name a matchday squad of at least 14 due to COVID.
Villa opted to field a team consisting entirely of players from their Under-23 and Under-18 during their FA Cup tie with Liverpool, and their young side went toe to toe with the Premier League champions for the first hour before ultimately slipping to a 4-1 defeat.
This will be the second top flight fixture that Everton have had postponed, after December’s visit of Manchester City was called off at the last minute due to a number of positive tests in the City camp.
Villa’s women’s side also had two WSL fixtures postponed in October following an outbreak in their squad.