Aston Villas stance on Newcastle United fixture after Magpies COVID-19 outbreak – Chronicle Live

Aston Villa have ‘not heard anything’ following Newcastle United’s COVID-19 outbreak and manager Dean Smith has confirmed his side will be ‘preparing as normal’ for Friday night’s game.

The Magpies have been forced to temporarily close their training ground after a number of employees – players and staff – tested positive for the virus.

Steve Bruce confirmed last Thursday that three individuals, including a first-teamer who would have played against Crystal Palace, were self-isolating.

It emerged over the weekend that two further individuals had tested positive – taking those affected up to five – and that number has since increased further.

Newcastle’s preparations for Friday night’s game against Aston Villa have been severely disrupted and it remains to be seen just how many players could be ruled out for the trip to Villa Park and whether the Magpies will ask for the game to be postponed.

Speaking after Villa’s 2-1 defeat against West Ham on Monday night, however, Smith was none the wiser.

“We’ve not heard anything so we will be preparing as normal,” the Villa boss told reporters on Zoom via our colleagues at the Birmingham Mail.

It is not exactly clear when the original outbreak happened at the training ground, and whether it was a result of players being away on international duty, but the club have seen a sharp rise in cases in the last couple of weeks.

Newcastle had the same protocols in place for eight months, which had been working well, but Bruce admitted last week he was ‘a bit anxious’ as the Magpies tried to manage the outbreak.

The names of those affected have not been disclosed by the club out of respect.