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Houllier to be announced as new Villa boss within 48 hours

Aston Villa hope to announce Gerard Houllier as successor to Martin O'Neill in the next 48 hours. Houllier is spending the weekend deciding whether to return to Premier League management after a six-year absence.

Houllier was interviewed for the post last week - along with the likes of care-taker boss Kevin MacDonald and former West Ham boss Alan Curbishley.

The indications are former Liverpool boss Houllier would not be against joining Villa in a traditional managerial type of role.

But reserve team chief MacDonald's coaching skills are highly rated by Lerner - and the Villa players - and he could have a role with the first team.

He is currently France's technical director but has come under fire after their disappointing World Cup campaign and may welcome a change.

There have been question marks raised over Houllier's health after he suffered heart problems during the latter part of his time with Liverpool. But he has apparently assured Villa they would have no cause for concern in this direction.

Villa believe he has the resume to keep them progressing in the right direction after three successive top six finishes in the Barclays Premier League.

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