David O'Leary has placed Villa in quarantine for two days to fend off a potentially debilitating flu virus that is sweeping through the club.
The Villa boss has decided to adopt a safety-first approach ahead of the crucial Boxing Day fixture with Everton and their Bodymoor Heath training complex will resemble a ghost town for the next 48 hours.
It is hardly ideal preparation as Villa prepare to face an Everton side with which they are level on points.
However, Villa's boss, who was sounding distinctly throaty himself at his pre-Christmas press briefing, claimed he was left with no other choice. "There is a flu virus, so I am going to shut the place down for a couple of days," confirmed O'Leary.
"I've got a sore throat myself and Gareth Barry, Liam Ridgewell and Luke Moore all went down with it on Tuesday. Mark Delaney is the same and Olof Mellberg is not feeling well.
"The symptoms they showed were in a few of the lads on Wednesday, so the medical people have said 'let's knock this on the head and separate them all for the next couple of days.
"The odd few that went down with the virus have been up and running 48 hours later."
"I've got lads who are not lacking in fitness and a couple of days away from the place might freshen them up as well.
"We'll have a good training session on Saturday and Christmas Day, and be fine for Monday night."
Delaney is expected to fully recover from his virus to line up alongside Ridgewell in a patched-up Villa defence.
It will be the Welsh international's 182nd appearance for Villa, but he is almost resigned to the fact he will be moving on to pastures new next season.
Contract negotiations have repeatedly stalled, with Villa in no rush to conclude business as they have a one-year option on the fullback when his current deal expires in the summer.
But Delaney is convinced the club won't be making him a new offer and is already bracing himself for the end of this campaign.
"I want to stay, but it is down to higher people at the club whether I do or not," he said.
"We tried to sort out a deal last year and we have tried recently but we are not getting any response.
"I just wish they would tell me 'Mark, you are not required' and I can start thinking about something else. The longer this drags on is no good for anyone.
"I've no qualms over their decision and if the club say 'that's enough' that is fine. I have had seven good years here and I don't want it to get bitter and me leave on bad terms.
"I am a bit surprised but it is the manager's and board's decision and if they want to go in a different direction then I don't mind.
"But I am just up in the air at the moment because of not knowing what my future is."
However, O'Leary hasn't ruled out the club taking up Delaney's one-year option in the summer, as long as he can keep himself fit.
The full-back has been plagued by a succession of injuries during his Villa Park career and Villa's boss believes a long stint away from the treatment table will pay rich dividends for Delaney.
"I think Mark can just as easily be offered something," admitted O'Leary.
The club feel they have a player who has got 18 months left of his contract if they want to take it up.
"Anytime Mark has played, he has done really well but this season he has probably been available for four games and that's been the problem Mark has had.
"He needs a good run of games and then he will be in stronger position. If he is to have a good run to the end of the season, then he will have shown everyone what he can do and then, if this club doesn't want to take him, he has shown everyone else."
However, while Delaney is fully committed to the Villa cause, he believes the writing is on the wall despite O'Leary's words of encouragement.
"I would like to carry on at Villa but, if I am being honest, then I just can't see it," added Delaney. "The club have got an option but that isn't going to help me and in my eyes I have the summer to work out where I am going.
"I need the next contract I get to be a good one, wherever it is. It is quite sad as the club have been good to me and I have settled down." ..SUPL: