Houllier ‘comfortable’ in hospital

Villa’s owner Randy Lerner, who appointed Houllier in September,

and chief executive Paul Faulkner have visited the Frenchman in

hospital during the weekend. There is no news on how long

63-year-old Houllier will have to remain in hospital. Villa and

Houllier will be guided by the specialist over when he is deemed

fit enough to return to work. Assistant manager Gary McAllister

took charge of the side for Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Stoke at Villa

Park. McAllister, who played under Houllier when he was in charge

of Liverpool, and Villa coaches Gordon Cowans, Rafa Gonzalez and

Robert Duverne have also made hospital visits. Former Leeds and

Coventry boss McAllister will remain in charge of the first team in

Houllier’s absence. Villa have four remaining matches in the

Premier League against West Brom, Wigan, Arsenal and Liverpool.

McAllister said: “The many messages of goodwill from fans and

people in and out of the game underline the esteem in which Gerard

is held.”