Houllier to take charge at Aston Villa next week
Gerard Houllier will officially take over as Aston Villa manager after Saturday's Premier League match against Bolton.
Houllier was hired by Villa last Wednesday on a three-year deal, but was still under contract as the French Football Federation's technical director and had not agreed to a departure date.
But Villa now expects Houllier to be in charge for the League Cup match against Bolton next Wednesday.
Speaking on French television Wednesday night, Houllier said that he will leave the FFF toward ''the end of the week'' and confirmed that he expects his first game in charge to be against Blackburn.
The FFF would not comment on whether it had agreed to release Houllier from his contract.
Kevin MacDonald, who has been Villa's caretaker manager since the resignation of Martin O'Neill before the start of the season, will be in charge against Bolton. He will then return to his role as reserve-team coach but has said he is considering his options.
The 63-year-old Houllier returns to English football after a six-year absence. He managed Liverpool between 1998 and 2004, winning six trophies.
Houllier may also be hiring former France fitness coach Robert Duverne to his backroom staff. Duverne worked with Houllier when he won two successive titles with Lyon in 2006 and '07.
''It's true that we are in contact,'' Houllier said. ''I had him two years at Lyon and he is competent.''
Duverne was at the heart of France's World Cup fiasco when he clashed angrily with Manchester United defender Patrice Evra in training before angrily storming off the field.