O'Neill a hard act to follow - Cascarino
O'Neill was rumoured to have quit Villa earlier this week because of a disagreement with owner Randy Lerner. The rumours proved to be unfounded and were quickly denied by club sources. But Cascarino, who played for Villa under Graham Taylor, believes Villa would slip into mid-table mediocrity if O'Neill left. He said: "If Martin O'Neill is not there then it will be a loss to Villa and I think it will be a very hard act for someone to come in and follow. "I sincerely hope he remains at Villa for the foreseeable future because the club are in a dangerous position where, if they lose someone of O'Neill's stature and the finance is not there, then I can only see them being a mid-table team. "If you look at Martin's career, once he goes players follow him through the door and I wouldn't be surprised if people like James Milner and Stewart Downing left. "I think that's the biggest danger, that the decent players would follow him out of the door and I don't think Villa would be able to deal with that." Cascarino also believes it is vital that Villa continue to match O'Neill's ambitions to retain his services. He said: "I don't think Martin would want to be in the job to be an also-ran. "If Villa became also-rans in the Premier League then I think they will lose O'Neill because he wouldn't want that. He wants to achieve." Meanwhile, keeper Andy Marshall has started on the comeback trail for Villa after a six month lay-off through injury. The former England Under-21 player joined Villa last summer from Coventry as cover for the American duo of Brad Friedel and Brad Guzan. He has been laid low since October after an ankle injury before returning to action for the reserves clash with West Ham. Marshall will be hoping he can impress O'Neill as he only signed a one-year deal with Villa.