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Five contenders to replace Paul Lambert as Aston Villa boss

The dust has barely settled on Paul Lambert’s departure, but Aston Villa’s wantaway owner Randy Lerner must face the recruitment process knowing QPR are already scouring the same market.

The Villans have slipped into the drop zone after losing three games on the trot and now require a coaching hero of the highest order to save their season.

Read on to find out who we think could take over the reins at Villa Park and help the West Midlands club out of the mire.

Tim Sherwood
Sherwood now seems to be out of contention for the QPR job and is odds-on at 1/2 to finally make his return with Villa. The former Spurs man would be tasked with saving the club from relegation and improving their overall play, and the 46-year-old is already well versed in taking over halfway through a season, having helped patch up Tottenham following Andre Villas-Boas’ exit.

Gareth Southgate
Sherwood is certainly favourite, but here at Coral we reckon England Under-21 boss Southgate, who was a League Cup winner with the Villans and plied his trade at Villa Park for six seasons, is a more intriguing shout at 20/1.

The former Three Lions international previously dipped his toes in to Premier League management with Middlesbrough, with mixed results.

However, five seasons after being relieved of his duties at the Riverside Stadium, Southgate could finally return to club management older and wiser.

An impressive stint as Young Lions boss has often seen Southgate tipped to take over the senior England squad, and his ability to work with raw materials could appeal to Villa, whose purse strings appear permanently tightened.

Jurgen Klinsmann
The former Spurs star, who currently resides in the United States, where he has coached the national team since 2011, has emerged as a surprise contender to be Villans coach.

Would Klinsmann really swap the Stars and Stripes for a relegation battle, however? It seems unlikely, but there’s no smoke without fire.

Available at odds of 8/1, which makes him third-favourite, Klinsmann recently guided the United States out of a tricky World Cup pool featuring Portugal and Germany, labelled the ‘Group of Death’. Could he steer Villa out of a similar sticky situation?

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
Manchester United hero Solskjaer was tipped for a promising coaching career after impressing as Molde manager in the Norwegian Tippeligaen, before a disastrous move to Cardiff City saw his stock drop dramatically.

Villa are 33/1 to give the former super sub another chance to prove his Premier League credentials and, whilst Solskjaer failed to save the Bluebirds from the drop zone, his attacking intent could impress at Villa Park.

The Villans are crying out for an injection of ingenuity, having scored a measly 12 league goals this term, so who better to get Christian Benteke back on track than one of football’s most potent poachers?

Neil Lennon
Lennon certainly has the experience of leading a club with high expectations and big ambitions, following his four-and-a-half season spell with Scottish giants Celtic.

Currently striving to prove himself in the Championship with Bolton Wanderers, it seems inevitable that Lennon will one day find a route into the Premier League, so back him at 12/1 to take that step with the Villans.

Lennon also previously played for Villa’s Midlands rivals Leicester City, and by coincidence the Foxes are next up to visit Villa Park in the FA Cup.