Gerard Houllier's Aston Villa future remains unclear

Aston Villa boss Gerard Houllier's future will be decided in the next 24 hours, Press Association Sport understands.

The Birmingham Mail have reported that Houllier will stand down by "mutual consent" because of concerns over his health after heart problems.

Sources close to Villa were adamant this morning that "Gerard is still our manager" and any final decision still had to be formally confirmed.

Houllier, who underwent heart surgery when Liverpool manager a decade ago, missed the final month of last season with the latest setback.

Caretaker boss Gary McAllister had been convinced the Frenchman would return to his post and the 63-year-old has played his part in drawing up Villa's plans for next season.

But Villa insisted medical tests conducted on Houllier before the weekend would determine his future.

The results have been studied by Villa owner Randy Lerner and medical staff and an official announcement is expected soon.

It is understood Villa officials are concerned a return to the dugout for Houllier could cause further health problems and may not, therefore, be fair to him or the club.

Houllier has two years to run of the contract he signed when becoming Villa manager in September as Martin O'Neill's successor, and any possible severance package would have to be finalised if he leaves.

He has struggled to win over the Villa fans despite a revival in the second half of the season which saw the club finish ninth in the Barclays Premier League.

Villa have already been linked with the likes of Everton manager David Moyes, Fulham boss Mark Hughes and former England coach Steve McClaren as possible successors should Houllier's reign be at en end.

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