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Staunton to join Houllier in new era at Villa

Aston villa hope to appoint Gerard Houllier as successor to Martin O'Neill in the next 48 hours, with former Ireland manager Steve Staunton set for the post of assistant coach.

Houllier spent the weekend deciding whether to return to Premier League management after a six-year absence.

It is likely caretaker manager Kevin MacDonald will assume duties as first-team coach, provided he's not disenchanted by the board's failure to contact him in the immediate days after his own interview for the managerial role. Staunton - who had MacDonald as his No 2 in Ireland - is to act as Villa assistant coach.

Houllier (63) gave little away on his future when questioned after attending Jamie Carragher's testimonial at Anfield on Saturday. He is France's technical director but has come under fire after their disappointing World Cup and may welcome a change.

Houllier left Anfield six years ago and has been employed as his country's technical director since leaving Lyon in 2007. He led the Reds to a UEFA Cup, FA Cup and League Cup treble in 2001. The Frenchman also enjoyed title success with Paris St Germain.

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 assured Villa that is not a concern.

Villa owner Randy Lerner wants to make an appointment soon, to ensure the new manager has time with the players before the match at Stoke on September 13. Villa believe Houllier can help them build on three successive top-six finishes in the league.

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