Next Aston Villa manager tips: Bruce heads betting with Midlands links galore
Jamie Clark, Sports Editor | Updated October 4, 2016
Next Aston Villa manager tips
Aston Villa’s decision to axe Roberto Di Matteo after just 124 days as boss means they are looking for a fourth permanent manager since sacking Paul Lambert in February 2015.
The Villans are in the Championship’s bottom six with just one win in 12 games across all competitions, so who will new owner Dr Tony Xia turn to as he attempts to address the slide that began under the previous administration, fronted by American investor Randy Lerner?
Di Matteo’s assistant Steve Clarke is in caretaker charge for now, and a 10/1 chance with Coral to be given the gig permanently, so our football experts assess the market and give their next Aston Villa manager tips below…
Former Hull City and Birmingham City boss Bruce heads the betting at 11/10. A free agent after leaving the Tigers over the summer, he has also been linked with the England job again.
Given how Villans supporters took to the last boss with links to city rivals Birmingham, Bruce might not be popular with the hardcore section of fans.
What is undeniable, though, is his record at Championship level. Bruce twice got the Blues promoted and subsequently did likewise on Humberside. A proven manager when it comes to getting sides up shall surely appeal to Xia.
Brentford boss Smith was a boyhood Villa fan, but is most associated with Walsall – a far less glamorous Birmingham club. Although seemingly ruling himself out of this vacancy because he’s coaching a Championship rival, might that lifelong connection come through.
Siding with Smith yields current odds of 4/1, but Brentford are on the cusp of play-off places and the Villans are battling relegation. It might not yet be the time for his boyhood dreams to come true.
The Villa Park faithful would be glad to have one of their own in the dugout, but Smith’s coaching CV contains a Football League Trophy runner-up medal on it, and that pales in comparisons to other linked with the post.
Funnier things have happened in football than disgraced ex-England boss Allardyce making a swift return to management, and the Villa vacancy would represent a project to prove himself once again.
Some may think it is a little too soon after Big Sam was caught up in a sting operation by The Telegraph, and this potential appointment would shine even more attention on Villa.
Allardyce, a 7/1 shot to take up the reins, does have promotions via the play-offs with both Bolton Wanderers and West Ham United to his credit, however.
Huddersfield Town’s German-born gaffer Wagner is hot property because he’s surprised many by taking the Terriers to the top of the Championship table when some pundits were suggesting they might be relegation punts.
Instead, when it comes to where Villa want to be things are reversed! An eclectic influx of foreign signing have given Huddersfield an unknown quantity feel and they’ve generated momentum.
A protege of Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp who worked under him at Borussia Dortmund, Wagner is an intriguing 7/2 chance (slashed from 8/1) to be next Aston Villa manager. The big question on everyone’s lips, though; is his Terriers turnaround just a fluke?
Throughout his time as Birmingham boss, current St Andrews coach Rowett has got the Blues punching above their weight and they currently sit in a play-off place.
While his work on a budget, both at Burton Albion in the lower leagues and in the Second City, makes him a local one to watch, what is required at Villa is an immediate revival.
As noted above, Villans fans never took to Alex McLeish (Birmingham) nor Di Matteo (a former West Bromwich Albion head coach), so Rowett at 10/1 may be one to swerve.
Bristol City boss Johnson has been boosted into the play-off places at Ashton Gate by the inspired loan signing of teenage Chelsea forward Tammy Abraham. His prolific form has helped the Robins manager’s stock to rise.
While family ties to Bristol City run deep, Johnson has shown real ambition in his coaching career already, first swapping Oldham Athletic for Barnsley and then the Tykes for a return to his former club from his playing days.
At 12/1 to take over at Villa, Johnson would be abandoning the Robins and their promotion push for a dogfight and it just isn’t as appealing as the roots he has at Ashton Gate.
Some sections of the Ipswich Town support reportedly want rid of ex-Republic of Ireland boss McCarthy, but they better be careful what they wish for. Throughout his four years at Portman Road, the Barnsley-born manager has hardly had a penny to spend.
Villa could offer McCarthy a way out from a shoestring budget, and he did a superb job at West Midlands rivals Wolverhampton Wanderers to get them into the Premier League and keep them there.
Also steering Sunderland into the top-flight earlier in his managerial career, McCarthy is a 20/1 outsider to be next Villa manager, but not without merit.
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