Belfast Telegraph

Hughes stays on Villa’s radar

Aston Villa face a difficult task if they are to persuade Mark Hughes to help them out of the hole created by Wigan Athletic's Roberto Martinez rejecting their overtures for the manager's job — but the Welshman does not seem to have entirely dismissed the idea of succeeding Gerard Houllier.

Hughes — who with Bolton Wanderers' Owen Coyle seems the mostly likely choice to repair the chaos of Villa's creation — is taking time to weigh up his options having left a situation at Fulham which had become a source of increasing frustration and anxiety to him, with no decisions forthcoming about investment for next season.

The Turkey national job may be one option for the 47-year-old if Guus Hiddink vacates it for Chelsea. Hughes had contact with the Turkish football federation about the post last summer.

But the Villa role is certainly one he would have taken at that time, if Martin O'Neill had resigned before Hughes took the Fulham job, and the Midlands certainly suits him on a practical level, with his family still in Cheshire.

Villa have some explaining to do, however. Hughes was astonished to learn that they had passed over him for the manager's job because of the manner of his departure from Craven Cottage.

Hughes's desperation for answers from his immediate superiors at Fulham about owner Mohammed Al Fayed's willingness to invest in an ageing squad formed an important part of the background to him leaving.

His indignation was compounded when Al Fayed made light of Hughes's requests when he finally got to see him face-to-face.

Villa have not made contact with Hughes and may prefer Coyle, even though he, like Hughes, has been at his current club for only one full season.

Belfast Telegraph

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