Villa eye McLeish successor
Wigan boss Roberto Martinez and Norwich's Paul Lambert are being linked with the Aston Villa job as Alex McLeish has been sacked.
As we revealed earlier McLeish's future as Villa boss was placed into doubt when it emerged that owner Randy Lerner was set to fly in from the United States for talks with the Scot and chief executive Paul Faulkner at some point this week. However, McLeish, who was controversially installed as Gerard Houllier's successor when brought across the second city from relegated rivals Birmingham last summer, has left now Villa Park with immediate effect on Monday. The former Rangers and Scotland manager blamed having to slash a huge bill and losing key players such as record signing Darren Bent, defender Richard Dunne and skipper Stiliyan Petrov to injury and illness respectively for the club's plight. However, it appears a run of one win in the final 17 games, which left Villa just three points off the relegation zone following Sunday's 2-0 final day defeat at Norwich, was not good enough. It leaves Villa searching for their next manager and Martinez, who turned down Villa last summer and chose to remain at the DW Stadium, has again been linked after he guided the Latics to safety against all the odds when they looked doomed in March. Lambert has also performed brilliantly at Norwich having guided the club from League One to the Premier League with back-to-back promotions and then helped them secure a 12th-placed finish this past season. Former caretaker boss Kevin MacDonald, who took over in 2010 after Martin O'Neill's departure from Villa Park, current Brighton manager Gus Poyet, former Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez and former Charlton and West Ham boss Alan Curbishley are also thought to be in the running.