4 managers who could replace Steve Bruce at Aston Villa

by Jack Kitson / 12 June 2018, 11:04

Steve Bruce’s future at Aston Villa remains up in the air amid a period of real uncertainty and anxiety.

Rumours continue to circulate that Bruce is planning to walk away from his position, whereas other reports speculate that the Midlands club are in fact planning to wield the axe.

Meanwhile, Bruce has also been linked with a shock switch to Leeds, who are yet to pin Marcelo Bielsa down to a deal following the recent departure of Paul Heckingbottom.

Below we take a look at four managers who could replace Bruce should he depart Villa Park this summer.

Mick McCarthy

Mick McCarthy

Now the dust has settled on Mick McCarthy’s Ipswich Town exit, the straight-talking gaffer will no doubt be eager to make a return to management. There’s a number of League One and League Two vacancies up for grabs, but the 59-year-old will feel he can still cut it in the Championship.

Like Bruce, McCarthy (12/1) has recently been linked with his boyhood club Leeds, however he looks to be behind the likes of Bielsa, the aforementioned Bruce and Claudio Ranieri in the pecking order, meaning Villa could prove to be a tempting prospect should the club come knocking at his door.

McCarthy is used to operating on a limited budget, having spent six years in charge of Ipswich, plus his abundance of experience and history of winning promotion (twice) out of the division makes Big Mick a viable option.

Dean Smith

Dean Smith

If Villa are keen to appoint a hungry manager who looks to employ an attractive brand of football on a small budget, then Dean Smith could be their man.

The Brentford boss, who is currently the second longest-serving manager in the Championship, is a boyhood Villa fan, while he previously worked in the West Midlands with Walsall.

More recently Smith has steered Brentford to three consecutive top-10 Championship finishes which represents a decent return in this notoriously competitive division, while he has accumulated a 40% win rate along the way.

Smith was hotly linked with the Championship duo of Derby and West Brom at the start of the summer, but for now at least he’s stayed put at Griffin Park. Should Villa show an interest in his services, Smith would almost definitely listen to what they have┬áto say, however one stumbling block is Villa would have to shed out compensation for the 47-year-old, who is obviously under contract at Brentford.

David Moyes

David Moyes

David Moyes will still feel hard done by his West Ham exit, given that he actually did a decent job under difficult circumstances. However, in the end he was cast aside, as the Hammers lured over the more high-profile Manuel Pellegrini.

As a result Moyes is back in the Job Centre, although he’s unlikely to be out-of-work for too long. The former Man Utd boss may decide to wait about until next season when there will inevitably be a top-flight managerial casualty some time in the autumn period.

But the 55-year-old may have to settle for a post in the Championship, but while he won’t be on big bucks at Aston Villa, the chance to lead a club of their size back up to the Premier League could prove to be an attractive prospect.

Paul Heckingbottom

Paul Heckingbottom

Paul Heckingbottom is ready and available for hire after he recently became the latest managerial victim at trigger-happy Leeds. He was only given 16 games to prove himself at Elland Road, and while he by no means set the place alight, he will feel that he deserved a full pre-season in order to stamp his own mark on the club.

However, it was not to be, meaning Heckingbottom is looking for his third job in four months.

The 40-year-old, who still has his whole managerial career ahead of him, has since been linked with former club Barnsley, and Bradford, but he could well be waiting for another Championship job to become available...which could be imminent...

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