Aston Villa is preparing to field a team of youth in the third round of the FA Cup on Friday against Liverpool after a “significant” game Covid-19 outbreak at the club

A final decision on whether the game will take place at all will be made on Friday

Villa manager Dean Smith, his coaching staff, and the rest of the club’s first team squad will not be involved after the outbreak forced the closure of the club’s Bodymoor Heath training center on Thursday

The club is in talks with the football association and wants to fulfill the game (kick-off 19:45 GMT) However, the final confirmation of whether the tie will be played will be suspended until the results of further tests on the young players are available, which will now be taken into account for selection

Mark Delaney, Villa’s U23 coach, is supposed to take command in the back room in the absence of Smith and his staff. He is accompanied by a doctor, physiotherapist and kit staff

The game was cast into doubt when Villa confirmed the closure of the training ground after “a large number of players and first-team staff” posted positive Covid-19 results after a test on Monday

Those affected were isolated and a second round of testing immediately carried out, which on Thursday gave more positive results

Villa is keen to play the game against Jurgen Klopp’s Premier League champions whom they beat 7-2 earlier this season, manager Smith had planned to rest several stars for the game but the Covid outbreak -19 has thrown the club’s plans into chaos

They are now hoping the additional Covid-19 tests will result in a clean state of health, with Villa working closely with the FA in hopes of being able to play the game on Friday night

The meeting between the formidable Villa and Liverpool is one of the most attractive games of the third round, even if both managers were prepared for unknown lineups

It also remains to be seen whether the Villa’s planned home game in the Premier League against Tottenham Hotspur will take place at Villa Park on Wednesday

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The Rams team for the game in Victory Park consists of players under the age of 23 and under 18

Villa will do everything possible to ensure the tie continues on Friday, but the Covid-19 outbreak could also have an impact on the Premier League

Villa will face fourth-placed Spurs at Villa Park on Wednesday and is currently only three points behind Jose Mourinho’s team

If the game is over it will only add to the game overload, which both clubs are likely to face on an already crowded calendar this season

Villa, despite planning to leave out some established first-team players against Liverpool, still had high ambitions in the FA Cup and would have wanted to maintain the momentum that has given them such an impressive start to the season after surviving the top division last Day of the last season

You will hope that the latest testing does not add any further complications in the FA Cup context – then attention will be drawn to what has the potential to become a hugely significant game on Wednesday

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