Aston Villa hope to name Martin O'Neill successor soon
Could Eriksson or Southgate be set to fill the hotseat at Villa Park?
Aston Villa are hoping to name Martin O'Neill's replacement as manager in time for their second Premier League game of the season.
Villa are beginning the search for a new manager after the abrupt departure of O'Neill, 58, on Monday.
Owner Randy Lerner is drawing up a list of candidates, with ex-England coach Sven-Goran Eriksson and former Villa star Gareth Southgate both interested.
Villa host West Ham on Saturday, with a trip to Newcastle on Sunday 22 August.
In-between, the Midlands club begin their European campaign with a Europa League qualifying play-off first leg against Rapid Vienna on Thursday.
Atkinson surprised by timing of O'Neill exit
Reserve-team coach Kevin MacDonald has been placed in caretaker charge of Villa, but sources close to Lerner say he would like a permanent appointment to be in place in time for the trip to St James' Park.
Other names linked with the post include United States manager Bob Bradley, Ajax boss Martin Jol and Germany legend Jurgen Klinsmann, while BBC Sport understands both Eriksson and Southgate are keen to throw their respective hats into the ring.
Sources close to Eriksson said: "Of course, Sven would be interested in this job.
"He has always said that he would like to go back into the Premier League. It is a big target for him."
The club's American owner Lerner - said to be shocked at O'Neill's swift exit - has flown into Birmingham to meet Villa chief executive Paul Faulkner as the club look to replace a man who led them to sixth in the league, and to the Carling Cup final, last season.
Eriksson would appeal to Randy Lerner because of his understated diplomatic style, rather than the engaging and bloody-minded Martin Jol
BBC Radio 5 live's Pat Murphy
O'Neill is believed to have resigned after four years with the club over its current transfer policy - but neither he nor Villa have disclosed any reasons behind the decision, which has thrown preparations for the new campaign into turmoil.
In May, Lerner insisted O'Neill had pledged his future to Villa after speculation over whether or not the former Celtic boss would leave.
But it is widely believed that O'Neill felt it was the end of the road after learning that he would not be able to reinvest most of the money generated from England midfielder James Milner's imminent move to Manchester City.
Lerner had backed O'Neill in the transfer market since the latter replaced David O'Leary in August 2006, from which point the Northern Irishman has largely transformed the fortunes of Villa.
But it became clear this summer that similar investment would not be forthcoming, with Lerner insisting that Villa - who face Rapid Vienna in the Europa League later this month - must now adopt a sell-to-buy policy.
BBC Radio 5 live's Midlands football reporter Pat Murphy stated while there are names in the frame, there is no single stand-out candidate to replace O'Neill.
"Alan Curbishley is available, there's no compensation issue and he's desperate to get back into Premier League management," he added.
"So is Sven-Goran Eriksson, who feels he has unfinished business after being sacked by Manchester City.
"Eriksson would appeal to Randy Lerner because of his understated diplomatic style, rather than the engaging and bloody-minded Martin Jol - who recently flirted with Fulham while playing fast and loose with his present club Ajax.
"Gareth Southgate has recent Premier League experience at Middlesbrough, where he was unluckily sacked, and his time as a manager will surely come again. But many Villa fans have not forgiven him for criticising the club for a lack of ambition when he left 10 years ago."
Bradley, whose contract with the US Soccer Federation runs out in December, has become one of the bookmakers' favourites for the vacant job after stressing that he would love to work in Europe when asked about the Villa speculation.
"I have said over and over as well that I am always excited about new and different challenges," he commented.
"Certainly coaching in Europe at some point is something that I would love to do."
Lerner is a fellow American, while Bradley had previously been linked with the Fulham managerial position before the appointment of former Manchester City boss Mark Hughes.
Milner's exit would come only a year after former Villa captain Gareth Barry also moved to Eastlands.
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