Newcastle have had to temporarily close their training ground after even more COVID-19 cases were recorded at the club, and fear the situation could put Friday’s trip to Aston Villa in doubt.
The club announced last week that two players and a member of staff were having to self-isolate after testing positive for the virus, and that tally was taken to five two further cases were later confirmed.
The infectious nature of the virus means that is always likely to rise further as more players and staff are tested, however, and The Telegraph report that a ‘significant’ number of new cases have been found. The club have closed their training ground until at least Tuesday morning as they look to get a handle on the situation.
The overnight closure is the best case scenario, however. The situation may not be resolved any time soon, and the report notes that Friday’s trip to the Midlands may be postponed, or even forfeited, as a result.
The report stops short of confirming the precise number of new cases but it is thought to be enough that the club are not confident of resuming full training this week.
It comes after Steve Bruce acknowledged it had been a ‘difficult’ week following Newcastle’s narrow victory over Crystal Palace.
“It’s been a tough week,” he said after his side rallied for a late 2-0 win. “Can we avoid a bigger outbreak? We sincerely hope so but it’s difficult at the minute. It’s a concern and difficult to manage. But we’re trying our best to control the situation; we’re trying to stay as safe as we can be.
“My concern is not just for the welfare of my players – which is, of course, vitally important – but my staff too. I’m a bit anxious.”