McAllister grateful for tactical help from recuperating Houllier

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The Independent Football

Gary McAllister admits Aston Villa manager Gérard Houllier is still making some contribution to team planning while he recovers from his heart problem. McAllister, Houllier's assistant, expects to remain in charge as caretaker for the remainder of the season.

But he is receiving a helping hand from Houllier, who is recuperating at home after being discharged from hospital last week. Speaking ahead of tomorrow's home game with Wigan Athletic, McAllister said: "Gérard is doing very well. I am speaking to him regularly. I'm going to see him this afternoon and he is progressing nicely.

"Everything is moving along fine and each time I see him he looks better and better. We talk all the time about the shape and personnel in the team so there are loads of discussions about who is looking to maybe break into the team. We had a good little run going there which came to an end so we have discussed little bits and bobs, tactical changes and even personnel changes."

McAllister is expected to be at the helm for the remaining games with Wigan, Arsenal and Liverpool. He said: "Gérard still sees the doctors on a regular basis and, if he keeps progressing, you can never say never. But at this moment in time I would project forward and say I would be here for the final three games."

McAllister insists he has had no thoughts about how his own future could be affected if Houllier, who appointed him as his No 2 in September, does decide to quit on medical grounds. He said: "To be perfectly honest, I've not had a chance to sit down and think about it. There has been so much happening, so much to be getting on with."