Houllier set for Villa appointment

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Gerard Houllier will become only the second foreign manager in Aston Villa's history when named as Martin O'Neill's successor.

Houllier is poised to become the club's 25th manager as the month-long search to find a replacement for O'Neill comes to an end.

He is understood to have shaken hands on a three-year deal with Villa owner Randy Lerner.

Houllier has spoken to the French Football Federation, for whom he has been working as technical director, to tell them of his intentions.

The 63-year-old and Villa have still to sort out what are being regarded as "minor details" but Houllier is expected to be presented to the media Thursday or Friday.

The Czech coach Jozef Venglos' experienced an ill-fated 12-month spell in charge two decades ago when Villa narrowly avoided relegation from the top flight, the only time Villa have not recruited a British or Irish coach.

It will represent the end of a six-year exile from the Barclays Premier League for Houllier since his reign at Liverpool came to an end in May 2004.

He is set to be named as Villa's fifth manager of the new millennium after John Gregory, Graham Taylor, David O'Leary and O'Neill.

Houllier's first match in charge would be the away Barclays Premier League clash with Stoke on Monday.

However, it now seems unlikely Houllier's former Liverpool number two, Phil Thompson, will follow him to Villa Park.

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