McClaren sticking with Derby
Derby boss Steve McClaren has ruled himself out of the running for the vacant Aston Villa hotseat.
Paul Lambert was sacked on Wednesday with McClaren quickly linked with replacing him at Villa Park but t he Rams manager wants to focus on his team's Sky Bet Championship promotion push.
Chairman Randy Lerner has thanked Lambert for his efforts during his two-and-a-half year reign after he was axed following Tuesday's 2-0 defeat to Hull.
Lerner was keen on ex-England boss McClaren in 2011 before changing his mind and appointing Alex McLeish from Birmingham instead.
And McClaren has distanced himself from the job this time with Derby third in the Championship.
"I have a job to do here and I'm solely focusing on trying to get Derby into the Premier League," he told Skysports.com.
"We've got a very, very good chance and everything else is speculation. We've got 16 games to go and have a chance of achieving what we want to achieve and I'm not going to walk away from it."
Lerner has spoken of his hope that Lambert's tenure would lead to a brighter future after "several brutally challenging" years before his arrival.
He praised the Scot and urged the struggling team to "rise to the occasion" in their battle against the drop.
He told the club's official site: "Adding players and investing in the squad over the last three years has strengthened Villa and it is our hope that, given the quality, leadership and team spirit at Bodymoor Heath, we can rise to the occasion for the remainder of the season.
"I want to thank Paul for his commitment to me personally, and to Villa, and wish him well personally and professionally in his future endeavours."
Lambert joined from Norwich in 2012 but oversaw two successive fights against relegation before this season.
He signed a new four-year contract in September but Villa have won just twice in their last 21 league games and only netted 12 times in the league this season.
The 45-year-old released a statement, via the League Managers' Association, saying his time at Villa had been the toughest of his career.
He said: "When I came on board the club's owner, Randy Lerner, warned me that I was embarking on the toughest challenge of my working life and he was not wrong.
"My initial remit was to conduct a massive overhaul of the playing squad, lower the overall wage structure of the playing staff and achieve this whilst keeping the club in the Barclays Premier League."
First-team coach Scott Marshall and goalkeeping coach Andy Marshall are set to be in charge for Sunday's FA Cup visit of Leicester with former Tottenham boss Tim Sherwood, current Real Madrid assistant Paul Clement and USA head coach Jurgen Klinsmann installed among the bookmakers' favourites to replace Lambert.