Kevin MacDonald has made his first declaration of interest in taking over the reins at Aston Villa on a permanent basis after throwing his name into the ring to be the successor to Martin O’Neill.
MacDonald has led the club on a caretaker basis so far this season as owner Randy Lerner remains patient in his search to appoint the next boss.
Despite Villa being eliminated from the Europa League in the final qualification round to Rapid Vienna under MacDonald’s stewardship, he has led the club to fourth in the Premier League with two victories from three fixtures.
Until now he has kept his cards close to his chest about his desire to become manager on a full-time basis, but has confirmed his interest in filling the post.
MacDonald is the 4/6 favourite to be appointed the next Aston Villa manager, but it is suggested that Lerner has narrowed his search to a five-man shortlist.
Lerner is said to be particularly keen to name a manager that has experience of working in the Premier League, but a lack of obviously available high-profile bosses has made the search challenging.
Mark Hughes is 7/1 to take the job, but acquiring him could be expensive as he has only recently been appointed at Fulham.
Former Liverpool manager Gerard Houllier and Everton’s David Moyes are among the names to have come in for support, although it could be seen as a sideways move for the latter.
Sam Allardyce, Sven-Goran Eriksson and Alex McLeish, from local rivals Birmingham, are among the other names to be thrown into the hat, along with Gianfranco Zola.
Ronald Koeman is the latest to signal his interest in taking the position, although he would not fit the criteria of having previously managed in the Premier League.
Aston Villa are 12/1 to finish in the top four in the Premier League this season for the first time since 1996 and they are a big 200/1 to win the top flight.