Aston Villa have began their search for a new manager in earnest following the arrival of owner Randy Lerner.

The American was forced to sack Alex McLeish on Monday following a dismal one season in charge in which Villa came within two points of relegation from the Barclays Premier League.

Lerner spelt out that under McLeish Villa lacked "compelling play and results", with his desire now to appoint a man "who sees the club's potential and embraces our collective expectations".

Villa's 16th-placed finish was their worst in six seasons as they also returned their lowest points total for 42 years, just 38.

Lerner flew in from the United States on Wednesday to oversee the process of appointing a third manager in under two years, along with chief executive Paul Faulkner.

However, their plans are likely to have been thrown off kilter by Liverpool's sacking of Kenny Dalglish.

Candidates on Villa's radar, such as Wigan's Roberto Martinez, Brendan Rodgers at Swansea and Norwich's Paul Lambert, are almost certain to figure highly on Liverpool's list of prospective candidates.

Martinez spurned Villa's advances a year ago and, after his astonishing end to the season in keeping the Latics up, has been installed as one of the favourites for the vacancy at Anfield.

One man apparently not in Villa's thoughts is Mick McCarthy, dismissed by Wolves in mid-February after nearly six years in charge.

Source: PA