Aston Villa are planning to field a team made up of under-23s if their FA Cup clash with Liverpool goes ahead on Friday night.
The scheduled third-round tie is in serious doubt after Villa were forced to close their training ground on Thursday due to an outbreak of Covid-19 cases.
Club officials are now locked in talks with the FA over the best course of action just 24 hours before the match is due to kick off.
An FA statement reads: ”The Football Association and Aston Villa are working closely together to try to ensure that the club’s Third Round Proper fixture with Liverpool can go ahead as planned at Villa Park tomorrow evening.
“Final confirmation will be made tomorrow pending the results of additional COVID-19 testing.”
Liverpool are preparing for the match as usual and have not travelled up to the Midlands for an overnight stay, instead making their trip on Friday afternoon.
According to Liverpool Echo, Jurgen Klopp and his squad are expecting their showdown with Villa to go ahead.
Should the two teams be given the green light to play out their third-round tie, however, the Premier League champions may find themselves locking horns with Villa’s under-23s.
Birmingham Live are reporting that Dean Smith and co have drawn up a plan to field their young stars if the game does go ahead as planned.
The under-23 side have continued to train away from the first-team group, meaning it could be safer for them to play Friday’s match against Liverpool following the senior side’s Covid-19 outbreak.
A Villa statement read on Thursday: “We can confirm that the Club has closed its Bodymoor Heath training ground after a significant coronavirus outbreak.
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“A large number of first team players and staff returned positive tests after being routinely tested on Monday and immediately went into isolation.
“A second round of testing was carried out immediately and produced more positive results today (Thursday).
”First team training ahead of tomorrow’s FA Cup match with Liverpool was cancelled.”
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