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Villa step up search for new boss
Aston Villa are aiming to appoint their new manager by the start of next week with Paul Lambert and Roberto Martinez at the forefront of their thoughts, Press Association Sport understands.
Wigan boss Martinez's advisers spoke with Villa at the end of last week before the Spaniard held talks with Liverpool. But Swansea manager Brendan Rodgers now appears to be the new favourite to take charge at Anfield.
It is understood Martinez is now willing to push ahead with Villa talks - a post he rejected 12 months ago - but the delay in any possible deal while he spoke to the Reds means Norwich manager Paul Lambert is also now on Villa's radar.
The Midlands club have still to make an official approach to either Wigan or the Canaries but are set to push ahead with moves in that direction in the next 24 hours.
Villa owner Randy Lerner sees Martinez as the kind of progressive young manager needed to take the club forward after dismissing Alex McLeish two-and-a-half weeks ago.
He has also been impressed by Lambert steering Norwich to successive promotions and establishing them in the Barclays Premier League last season.
But either appointment - if permission is given to Villa to open talks - would be subject to compensation being agreed.