Houllier could be well enough to attend Villa's final match of the season

Gerard Houllier could make a surprise appearance for Aston Villa's final match of the season at home to Liverpool next Sunday.

Houllier, the Villa manager, was admitted to Birmingham's Queen Elizabeth hospital on 20 April suffering with a heart problem, and discharged nine days later. However, given Houllier's health history – he underwent open-heart surgery nine and a half years ago – there has been speculation over whether he will return to the helm at all.

Villa's assistant manager, Gary McAllister, who has served as caretaker for Villa's last three matches and will do so again for tomorrow's trip to Arsenal, yesterday confirmed Houllier was on the mend and could be at Villa Park for the game with his former club.

"Gérard is very good. I've seen quite a bit of him this week, and I've been speaking to him a great deal," said McAllister. "I've been over and we ventured out and had a bit of lunch. He's up and about, certainly more free around the house, so he's good.

"There have been loads of conversations with [chief executive] Paul Faulkner, myself, getting on with things, preparing for next year."

Asked about the possibility of being around for the club's end-of-season meeting with Liverpool, McAllister added: "He won't be in the dugout, but there might be a visit. Maybe there is a chance of it, although it's something we've not spoken about."

This week defender Luke Young aired his concerns regarding the prospect of a summer of uncertainty at Villa Park should Houllier's absence be indefinite. McAllister responded: "I can dispel that. Absolutely.

"Apart from not being fit enough to take training, he is certainly fit enough to be getting on with the business side of things, which you would do in the office after a training session.

"Every indication I've got from speaking to Gérard, how positive he is in his own mind and from all the things we've chatted about, is he is eager to go into the summer prepared for pre-season.

"When you come to this end of the season, as much as people think it's a winding down for the club, there is a lot of preparation and stuff that needs to be set in place for next season."

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