With no transfer window in which to recruit and just a few matches to turn fortunes around, whomever Aston Villa select to replace Paul Lambert faces one almighty task to keep them in the Premier League.
The Villans’ poorly timed sacking of the Scottish supremo has only worsened their survival prospects, which could explain the dearth of attractive options in the betting to be their next boss.
Typically, Tim Sherwood assumes favouritism, though this is nothing new for him having headed the market to be Crystal Palace, West Brom and QPR boss this term.
The former two clubs plumped for alternatives and it looks likely that the R’s will follow suit, meaning his 1/2 to take the Villa Park reigns should be avoided at all costs.
Cases can be made to favour all of those who made the cut on the alternative shortlist of Villa manager candidates, each being better value bets than pace-setting Sherwood.
Roy Keane 20/1
Assistant to Lambert earlier in the campaign, the Villans enjoyed their best run of the campaign with Keane’s guidance.
Only Chelsea could best their ten points accumulated after four matches, while the six straight losses endured with the Irishman on board can be mitigated given that five were against members of last term’s top six.
The good results Keane helped garner were achieved with inferior resources to what’s available now too, with star men Jores Okore, Carlos Sanchez and Christian Benteke – who for whatever reason weren’t around for the bulk of the early-season outings – all vying for selection.
Harry Redknapp 12/1
The lure of a club of Aston Villa’s stature may well tempt Redknapp to call a rain check on the “knee surgery” that caused him to quit QPR earlier this month.
His exploits at Tottenham should particularly appeal to the Villans’ interviewers, were he took the club from the foot of the top-flight in 2008/09 into the Champions League by the end of the following season.
Lacking the opportunity to buy Jermain Defoe, Peter Crouch et al, he will require some convincing.
Gareth Southgate 66/1
Having departed the club for Middlesbrough as a player (whose mid-table Premier League status he subsequently obliterated as a manager) Southgate isn’t the most popular member of Holte End regulars.
But his exploits in the England Under-21 team suggest he’s both a talented coach and is capable of working under squad restrictions.
The fast lane back to the top tier is one he’s likely to jump at, especially when he can lay the blame for relegation at the feet of his predecessor should he fail to achieve his primary objective.