Aston Villa striker Darren Bent wants a hungry new manager who can bring stability and also move the club forward.

With Villa having failed to find a suitable successor to Martin O'Neill, who left in August 2010, Bent believes only finding a genuine long-term replacement will allow the club to flourish in the Barclays Premier League.

"Whoever gets the job I am sure will understand the passion of the club and what that means to the fans," the striker told the Birmingham Mail. "He'll be hungry and understand what it means to the fans."

The club have had talks with ex-Manchester United forward and current Molde boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer about taking over from Alex McLeish, who was sacked after just one season.

Having spoken to Villa officials on Friday Solskjaer returned to his job at Molde to oversee a 2-0 victory over Sandnes Ulf on Sunday. Although he remains the front-runner among bookmakers and fans the Norwegian expects other candidates to enter the fray and he is prepared to await Villa's next move.

"There was some suggestion I had turned them down and all sorts of things," he said. "I do not know who they (Villa) are considering and what they are going to do.

"I do not go and check the phone to see if they have called me. They will take the time they need. It's not something I think about. As long as I have a contract and work in Molde I do until something else happens."

Of being the favourite for the Villa job Solskjaer added in Norwegian newspaper Dagbladet: "It is always flattering. When I was a footballer and United wanted to buy me I was flattered. Players want to be on the highest possible level and it's the same with me as manager."

Bent insists there should be optimism for the future for whoever takes over at Villa Park. The 28-year-old, who missed the last three months of the season after rupturing ankle ligaments, believes the current squad offers plenty of promise despite coming close to being dragged into the relegation battle as they finished 16th under McLeish.

"It's exciting. We have no idea who it will be but whoever it is I am sure they'll come in, do a good job, take that passion for Villa and take us where we belong," he added.

Source: PA