Stoke v Aston Villa: Gary McAllister favoured to become Gerard Houllier's new right-hand man
McAllister, who was described by Houllier as 'my most inspirational signing' when the-then Liverpool manager signed the 35 year-old midfielder, has emerged as Houllier's favourite candidate after Dietmar Hamann privately indicated that he wishes to extend his own playing career as long as possible with MK Dons. It could take some time for Houllier to bring in McAllister, however. The Scot is currently working with Gordon Strachan at Middlesbrough after being sacked by Leeds United. He had a home in Leicestershire until recently, but he has since moved to Yorkshire to cut down the commute to Middlesbrough's training complex at Hurworth. Related ArticlesStoke v Aston Villa: previewHoullier fit and ready for Villa challengeVilla confirm Houllier as bossThompson snub for Houllier and VillaGerard Houllier 'to sign two-year Villa deal'Houllier Villa deal hits hitch over MacDonaldFortunately, time is a commodity Houllier has plenty of. He is yet to come to an agreement with the French Football Federation over when he is able to vacate his role as technical director - he has three months' notice to serve - so he will not be taking up his duties, at the earliest, until the Wolverhampton Wanderers game at the end of the month. He will not, therefore, be at the Britannia Stadium this evening, for Villa's fixture with Stoke City. Instead, MacDonald will continue as caretaker manager. The 49 year-old, who has refused to comment during the recruitment process for Martin O'Neill's successor, might have been overlooked for the managerial post, but he has certainly won the respect of the first team players. "He's done a very, very good job in the circumstances he was given with the first team,' said Stewart Downing. 'Obviously he's got a lot of respect here. He's brought a lot of young players through - a load who are still here and a load who have left. He'll just get on with his job whether he's dealing with the first team or whether he's going back to the reserves. He's done really well for us up to now. I think he's an ultra-professional."
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