Villa wait on Houllier decision

The Midlands club do not expect to make any announcement until

early next week as Houllier recuperates after his recent heart

problem. Sources close to Villa have indicated the outcome of the

tests will be “the driving force” behind what is the next step to

take. There have been conflicting weekend reports over Houllier’s

future. One suggested the 63-year-old would be relieved of his

duties and another indicated his return would be rubber-stamped by

club owner Randy Lerner. But the source insisted it is “neither of

those” and that the medical tests will be the key. Caretaker boss

Gary McAllister continues to be in an upbeat mood over Houllier’s

future. He said: “Gerard is very good. He is in fine form. We are

seeing more and more of him. He is up and about. “We have had

lunch, we’ve been for dinner. He’s not driving or anything like

that. He’s obviously got a driver. “But every indication, and all

the things he is saying to me and other members of staff, is that

he wants to be back here and he wants to be back in full-time work.

“He is just preparing for July 7 when we come back for pre-season

training.” Meanwhile a Premier League managers’ arbitration

tribunal is continuing this week to consider the circumstances that

led to Martin O’Neill’s abrupt departure from Villa. O’Neill

enjoyed a successful four-year association with the club after

taking over from David O’Leary in August 2006. He led them to three

successive top-six finishes in the Premier League and the 2010

Carling Cup final. But the former Leicester and Celtic boss opted

to leave just five days before the start of the campaign in August.

A League Managers’ Association mediation panel failed to resolve

the dispute between O’Neill and Villa at the tail-end of 2010.