McLeish claims board back him

ALEX McLEISH claims he has the backing of Aston Villa owner Randy Lerner and chief executive Paul Faulkner after fans called for him to be sacked after last night's 2-1 home defeat by Bolton. Villa are just three points above the Premier League bottom three and have won one of their last 13 games.

Supporters turned on boss McLeish after Villa surrendered the lead given them by Stephen Warnock as goals from Martin Petrov (penalty) and David Ngog earned Bolton a survival lifeline.

McLeish said: "I'll keep fighting for this team to get the points that can make us safe and every player knows the task facing them as well.

"There are still nine points to play for, our destiny is still in our own hands."

The defeat was another for Ireland's midlands-based players as the possibility of Villa's Irish internationals - Shay Given, Richard Dunne, Ciaran Clark and Stephen Ireland - joining relegated Wolves' foursome Stephen Ward, Kevin Doyle, Stephen Hunt and Kevin Foley in the Championship next season, looks ever more distinct.