ASTON VILLA are on the hunt for a new manager after sacking Dean Smith.
The lifelong fan lost his last five games in charge, leaving his beloved side just two points above the drop zone.
Smith's exit comes at the start of two weeks off for the international break.
And the club's board will hope to secure a quick appointment so the new boss can start working with his players.
But who will be Smith's successor at Villa Park?
SunSport weighs up six of the main candidates…
One of the more obvious choices could be John Terry, who is still looking for his first managerial job and has been finishing off his coaching badges to get his pro licence.
JT ended his playing career with Villa and worked as Smith's assistant before leaving his post in July.
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Frank Lampard is also ready to get back into the game following his sacking as Chelsea boss in January.
The former midfielder had a strong season with Derby in 2018-19, losing to Smith and Terry in the play-off final, but is also being linked with the vacancy at Norwich.
And he would no doubt relish getting to work with the talented squad at his disposal should he take the job.
Now in his fourth season at Rangers, Steven Gerrard has earned a strong reputation during his time at Ibrox.
Many expect him to return to manage in England at some stage, with the Liverpool job later down the line, but could be tempted to take over at Aston Villa.
After shutting down Newcastle links, he is the early favourite for the claret and blues.
Kasper Hjulmand has worked wonders during his time as Denmark national team boss since 2020, eight years after leading Nordsjælland to the Superliga.
He reached the Euro semi-finals and has already secured their spot at next year's World Cup with a perfect record in qualifying.
SunSport revealed Villa have already put the Dane on their 'watch list' of future managers.
Another option for Aston Villa could be to try and lure Ralph Hassenhuttl away from Southampton, as The Telegraph reported.
Villa would likely be able to back him with more funds in the transfer market than the Saints – and he would be reunited with goal king Danny Ings.
Paulo Fonseca continues to be linked with another job in England, and is among the early favourites to take over from Smith – helped by being a free agent already.
The ex-Roma chief had already been tipped for the job even before Sunday's sacking – and that could see some of his Roman generals such as Chris Smalling and Henrikh Mkhitaryan follow him.
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