Alex McLeish will be a success at Villa - Ferguson

Alex McLeish
McLeish was given his break by Ferguson as a player at Aberdeen

Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson expects Alex McLeish to win over sceptical fans and prove a success as Aston Villa manager.

Villa are set to confirm the appointment of former Birmingham boss McLeish on Friday.

McLeish quit St Andrew's on Sunday and the prospect of him moving across the city has enraged some Villa fans.

"At the end of the day, what will count is this - can he do the job for Villa?" said Ferguson.

"It doesn't matter whether there are 50 against him, 500 against him or five against him because the experience and the ability he has got, believe me, he will prove that he can do the job.

"I've known him for a long time and I know his abilities. I know how conscientious he is.

"I know the determination and work ethic he's always had to make sure he does the job right."

Villa fans staged a protest at Villa Park on Wednesday but the ill-feeling has not deterred club owner Randy Lerner from pursuing McLeish.

Villa were also not put off by a war of words with Birmingham,external-link who claimed McLeish was tapped up and threatened to take out an injunction to block his appointment.

That was not carried out and nor was a threat to report Villa to the Premier League.

Blues, however, did demand £5.4m in compensation to cover the final two years of McLeish's contract.

McLeish, who was given his break as a player by Ferguson at Aberdeen, began his managerial career with Motherwell and Hibernian before winning two league titles with Rangers and then taking over the Scotland national side.

He won the Carling Cup with Birmingham last season only for the campaign to end in the disappointment of relegation from the Premier League.

He is set to become Villa's third full-time manager in nine months and will succeed Gerard Houllier, who left the club after a health scare.