Football: Man City boss Guardiola and Burnley's Dyche test positive for Covid

Pep Guardiola (left) and Sean Dyche are the latest Premier League managers to test positive in recent weeks. PHOTOS: AFP, EPA-EFE

LONDON (AFP, REUTERS) - Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has tested positive for Covid-19, with 21 players and staff now isolating for coronavirus-related reasons, the club announced on Thursday (Jan 6).

"The City manager recorded a positive test on Tuesday along with assistant Juanma Lillo. Both are now isolating, along with a number of other positive cases within the City first-team bubble," City said.

"This brings the number of those isolating for Covid related reasons among the group to 21. Of that number, 14 are backroom staff with seven first-team players."

Guardiola will miss Friday's FA Cup third-round trip to League Two side Swindon Town, but the match is still scheduled to go ahead with assistant coach Rodolfo Borrell taking charge of the team.

Burnley boss Sean Dyche will also sit out his side's FA Cup tie against Huddersfield Town on Saturday after he, too, was hit by the virus.

Guardiola and Dyche are the latest Premier League managers to test positive in recent weeks after Aston Villa's Steven Gerrard, Newcastle United's Eddie Howe, Crystal Palace's Patrick Vieira, Arsenal's Mikel Arteta and Liverpool's Jurgen Klopp.

City, who are on an 11-game winning streak domestically, are heavy favourites against Swindon even if they do not have their manager and are not at full strength.

They will likely use this opportunity to give some of their fringe and young players like Zack Steffen, Luke Mbete, Josh Wilson-Esbrand, CJ Egan-Riley and Cole Palmer a chance to impress.

The team will be missing Riyad Mahrez as he is on Africa Cup of Nations duty with Algeria, while John Stones is likely to miss out with an injury. Phil Foden and Oleksandr Zinchenko are reportedly two of the seven first-team players who remain doubtful due to Covid-19.

City and Swindon's most recent meeting was 20 years ago, also in the third round of the FA Cup in 2001-02, when Kevin Keegan's side won 2-0.

Swindon boss Ben Garner is relishing Friday's clash, but insisted it is no different from a League Two match in terms of importance.

"We just have to play how we have done all season," he said.

"We can't focus too much on if City do play some of their bigger names or a younger team.

"I know that this is a fantastic game for the football club and yes we want to do well. But, you know, I would love to get three points at Mansfield on Tuesday night.

"So we will be consistent with how we prepare. We prepare in the same way for every game."

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