Steve Bruce: Aston Villa manager keen to stay after play-off defeat

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Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Steve Bruce missed out on a record fifth promotion from England's second tier on Saturday

Aston Villa boss Steve Bruce is prepared to extend his managerial career into a 21st season - if the Championship club still want him.

Bruce, who is on a rolling contract, failed to lead Villa back to the Premier League when they lost Saturday's play-off final to Fulham.

Villa face a reduction in Premier League parachute payments next term - their third year out of the top flight.

"As long as those above me see I'm fit to do it, I'll carry on," said Bruce.

The 57-year-old told BBC WM: "Until I hear otherwise, I will continue to do my best and get the club where it needs to be.

"As always with any disappointment, give me two or three days to dust myself down and get ready to go again."

What's to do at Villa Park?

Having been appointed in October 2016, Bruce has succeeded in stopping the rot at Villa Park and led a strong promotion challenge this season.

Now he has the job of dealing with the potential loss of some first-team regulars, as he tries to deal with working under Financial Fair Play restraints.

Also, having failed to go up, 37-year-old former Chelsea and England captain John Terry does not trigger the automatic extension to the one-year contract he signed in July 2017.

He is a likely departee, while Villa's star attraction, 22-year-old midfielder Jack Grealish, is likely to be a target for Premier League clubs in the summer.

Bruce also has to deal with the future of this season's main loan players - Manchester United goalkeeper Sam Johnstone, Tottenham midfielder Josh Onomah, West Ham winger Robert Snodgrass and Bournemouth striker Lewis Grabban.

The Villa manager also wants to tie former Scotland international Alan Hutton, 33, to a new deal.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Jack Grealish and John Terry are two of the players whose futures at Aston Villa are uncertain

'As long as we can find a path through'

Newcastle-born Bruce's second season with Villa has been played out to the backdrop of personal sadness, having lost both his father Joe and his mother Sheenagh in the space of three months.

But the former Manchester United captain has never been short of fighting spirit and remains remarkably upbeat, as long as the club's hunger to try to compete matches his own.

"I'm in charge of a really great club and I've enjoyed every minute of it," he said.

"It's been difficult this season financially. We've been dealing with Financial Fair Play for the past 12 months.

"We've had to wheel and deal with loan players and this, that and the other. We've had to balance the books, something which, over the past two windows in particular, I've come to get used to.

"There's going to be change, of course. There are difficult times ahead because of the parachute payments not being there. But, as long as we can find a path through...

"We'll ask those questions in the next week or so. Discussions have got to be had above me to decide what we've got and what we haven't got."

Bruce's managerial record

  • Bruce has spent 20 years in management to follow a 20-year playing career at Gillingham, Norwich, Manchester United and Birmingham, which finished as player-manager at Sheffield United.
  • After his first season in management at Bramall Lane, he spent 17 months with Huddersfield, taking them to the top of the Championship.
  • He had short spells in charge of Wigan and Crystal Palace before becoming Birmingham manager in December 2001 and led them up via the play-offs that season to reach the Premier League for the first time.
  • Although relegated in their fourth season, he took them straight back up in May 2007, before returning to Wigan when he left St Andrew's six months later while the club was going through a takeover.
  • He had two and a half years at Sunderland, before joining Hull in 2012. He led the Tigers to the FA Cup final in 2014, as well as twice winning promotion to the Premier League - the second time via the Championship play-offs in May 2016.
  • After his fourth promotion to English football's top flight, he quit Hull and was then interviewed for the England job, which went instead to Sam Allardyce.
  • He returned to management with Villa in October 2016 and Saturday's game was his 873rd as a manager, with eight different clubs.

Interview with BBC WM's Mark Regan.