Aston Villa 'well placed' to cope with Houllier absence

Gary McAllister said Aston Villa would cope with Gerard Houllier's absence from the club while the manager recovers from a heart problem.

The Frenchman, 63, left hospital on Thursday night, eight days after being admitted with chest pains.

He is almost certain not to return to Villa in an active role this season.

"It would be better if Gerard was here, but everything is in place for things to move on," stated assistant boss McAllister, who is in temporary charge.

"All these things that from the outside we seem to have to deal with over the next few weeks, we've been looking through already.

"Whether it be attracting new players, or players coming to the end of their contract, a lot of decisions have already been made."

Scot McAllister, 46, added: "I agree with people who say the upheaval is unneeded but as a group we've become very close with the chairman [Randy Lerner] and chief executive [Paul Faulkner].

"There is a plan to move forward which is already there.

"As much as it would be ideal if Gerard was here, it can be done from his home because we're down the line on a few things.

"I don't have to give anything away, but I'm talking about people that might want to come here, people we want to try and attract here, people that want to stay, people that might have to find a club.

"We know the positions where we are strong but we also know where we need to strengthen. It's ongoing and you've got to be like that, you've got to be prepared to go into the market and get these deals through."

A significant question mark still remains over whether Houllier will return at all given his medical history - he underwent major heart surgery in 2001 while in charge of Liverpool.

McAllister said he was certain Houllier would come back, although he insisted there was "no rush" for the manager to make a decision over his future.

And the Scot added that the decision would be made "after he [Houllier] speaks to friends, family and people he respects but, most importantly, the doctors".

"I'm sure he'll be recovering over here where there will be people on hand to deal with any queries," McAllister added.

"If he's given the green light to go and gets some warmer weather if it helps, I don't know. He'll be guided by the experts."

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