Fulham boss Mark Hughes is a strong favourite to land the Aston Villa job should Gerard Houllier step down from the post.

Stories are circulating that the Frenchman may not return to his role following illness.

Graham Sharpe, spokesman for bookies William Hill, said: “There are those who believe Hughes was a Villa target when the job became vacant after Martin O’Neill’s departure, so he could well be interested this time round should the position become vacant imminently.”

Odds: 11-10 Mark Hughes, 4 Rafa Benitez, David Moyes, 10 Steve McClaren, 14 Roberto Martinez, 20 Martin Jol, Chris Hughton, Sam Allardyce, 25 Gus Poyet, Gary McAllister, Owen Coyle, Jurgen Klinsmann, Louis Van Gaal, Stuart Pearce, Kevin MacDonald, 33 Carlo Ancelotti, Bob Bradley, Paul Lambert, Steve Bruce, Gareth Southgate, 40 Frank Rijkaard, Martin O’Neill, Simon Grayson, 50 Avram Grant, 66 Fabio Capello.