Levein set to leave Hearts for new home at Walkers Stadium

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The Independent Football

Craig Levein will today be offered the chance to replace Micky Adams as the new manager of Leicester City.

The Hearts manager's decision on whether to move south of the border to the Walkers Stadium will rest heavily on a meeting with the Scottish club's new owner Vladimir Romanov.

Levein is trying to discover the level of ambition of the Lithuanian banker who recently took over at the SPL club.

And if he decides to turn down the post, Leicester City will make a swift move for Gary Megson, who has just been relieved of his duties as manager of West Bromwich Albion.

Levein, 40, has been identified as the number one target by the Championship side, following his sterling work with Hearts, who he has guided into the Uefa Cup in the last three seasons.

The former Hearts and Scotland international has been dubbed the "new Martin O'Neill" in Scotland and fits Leicester's profile of appointing young, ambitious managers.

He still has over a year left on his contract, but wants to discover whether Romanov is willing to provide the funds to enable him to make a realistic challenge to Rangers' and Celtic's domination of Scottish football.

Over the last four years he has firmly established Hearts as Scotland's third most powerful club - but if Leicester can match his financial package he is thought to be willing to make the move to the Walkers Stadium.

Leicester would only have to pay nominal compensation to Hearts, which would be a more appealing move, rather than becoming embroiled in Megson's political wrangling at Albion.

Megson is still officially contracted to the Hawthorns, despite being placed on gardening leave by the Albion chairman, Jeremy Peace, and that could create major problems if Leicester try to lure him across the Midlands.

The Aston Villa manager, David O'Leary, believes crashing out to Burnley in the Carling Cup on Tuesday will benefit his team this season. Villa were convincingly beaten 3-1 by their Championship opponents at Turf Moor on Wednesday night - and O'Leary conceded that the better team had won. "We're probably better off out of the competition but we didn't come here to do that," O'Leary said. "Because I think it's going to be a tough season, we've got a small squad and we've sustained another injury.

"But that doesn't take anything away from Burnley, they thoroughly deserved to win and we didn't do enough to win it."

Defender JLloyd Samuel hobbled off in the second half of the defeat against Steve Cotterill's side with a shoulder injury. Samuel underwent a scan yesterday to determine the extent of the injury and is rated doubtful for Saturday's away Premiership meeting with Everton.

The 23-year-old has a remarkable record of having played every minute of 56 successive matches since O'Leary took charge of Villa 17 months ago. But that record is now under threat although Samuel is understood to have soft tissue rather than ligament damage. His scan results are due today.

A Villa spokesman said: "JLloyd remains doubtful for the weekend. He had a scan... and now we are awaiting the results. We are keeping our fingers crossed because the last thing we would want is another serious injury."

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