MacDonald seeking talks with Lerner

Aston Villa caretaker manager Kevin MacDonald is hoping to speak to owner Randy Lerner over the next few days to find out whether there is any cash to spend in the transfer market.

MacDonald will continue to hold the reins for the next few days at least, taking in tonight's Europa League play-off with Rapid Vienna and Sunday's Barclays Premier League trip to Newcastle.

Victories in those to follow on from Saturday's impressive season-opening 3-0 triumph at home to West Ham could persuade Lerner that the 49-year-old Scot is the man for the job.

MacDonald, however, has yet to decide on whether he wants it, but he knows the clock is ticking towards the closure of the transfer window.

If the squad is to be strengthened it needs doing so fast, but the key is whether Lerner is willing to make money available.

The departure of James Milner yesterday to Manchester City - with Stephen Ireland moving in the opposite direction - will have freed some funds.

Whether MacDonald gets the opportunity to invest is another matter as he said: "At the moment I've not spoken to Mr Lerner or Paul (Faulkner, chief executive) about who is controlling the transfers.

"The only ongoing transfer when I took over related to Stephen and James, so probably after tomorrow's game I might be able to speak to them.

"If not we've Sunday's game to look forward to as well, so we've so much going on for me to try and get my head round.

"But after Sunday we've only 10 days to see what there is and if there are going to be any dealings in the market."

MacDonald's immediate priority is to steer Villa into the group stages of the Europa League, a feat O'Neill was unable to achieve last season after losing out on away goals to Rapid.

MacDonald, who knows all about the younger players from working with them in the reserves, is ready to give them a chance.

With Richard Dunne suspended, John Carew, Gabriel Agbonlahor, Carlos Cuellar and James Collins injured, and with Ashley Young, Stiliyan Petrov and Luke Young rested, several fringe players are in a 20-man squad.

"It's a very big game for us," added MacDonald.

"Villa have obviously had outstanding evenings in Europe, some when I've been here, some previously. We've a big reputation in Europe.

"But it's also very important to stay in the competition for squad players, the youngsters to play matches, and we'll be doing our utmost to stay in.

"I did say last week that whilst I was in charge, be it two games or 20, that everyone would be given an opportunity.

"Obviously the players on Saturday were outstanding, but now some of the players on the fringes are being given a chance.

"I'm talking about some of the youngsters who have done so well for this club over the years because it's not just about some of the so-called senior players."

Ireland will have to wait until Sunday's visit to St James' Park to make his bow, and after spending so long on City's fringes, he is eager to make an impact at Villa Park.

"I want to get back to playing the way I can - I haven't played 90 minutes in nearly eight or nine months, which isn't normal really for me," said Ireland.

"I've kind of forgotten the feeling of what it is like to come off after a game feeling tired, winning or losing. I'm not used to sitting out for so long.

"So for me, I want to get back to playing at the top of my game."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Leah Devine is only the ninth female to have made the Young Magician of the Year final since the contest began more than 50 years
peopleMeet the 16-year-old who has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year
News
Jonathan Anderson was born in Northern Ireland but now based between London, where he presents a line named JW Anderson
peopleBritish designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
News
Andy Davidhazy at the beginning (left) and end (right) of his hike
video
News
Taylor Swift is applying to trademark song lyrics from 1989
people
Voices
The popularity of TV shows such as The Liver Birds encouraged Liverpudlians to exaggerate their Scouse accent
voicesWe exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor
How to make your own Easter egg: Willie Harcourt-Cooze shares his chocolate recipes

How to make your own Easter egg

Willie Harcourt-Cooze talks about his love affair with 'cacao' - and creates an Easter egg especially for The Independent on Sunday
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef declares barbecue season open with his twist on a tradtional Easter Sunday lamb lunch

Bill Granger's twist on Easter Sunday lunch

Next weekend, our chef plans to return to his Aussie roots by firing up the barbecue
Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

The England prop relives the highs and lows of last Saturday's remarkable afternoon of Six Nations rugby
Cricket World Cup 2015: Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?

Cricket World Cup 2015

Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?
The Last Word: Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing