Mick could fit the Villa bill quite nicely!

Mick McCarthy – Is the former Republic of Ireland manager the man to rescue Aston Villa?

Mick McCarthy – Is the former Republic of Ireland manager the man to rescue Aston Villa?

Former Republic of Ireland manager and current Ipswich boss Mick McCarthy could become Aston Villa’s third manager this season. The former Republic captain, who represented his country in Euro 88 and two World Cups, has also fuelled rumours linking him with the Aston Villa job by revealing he’s a worthy candidate for the vacancy since Remi Garde’s sacking just after Easter.

McCarthy is currently third favourite for the post which will have a job description that’s quite familiar to him – gain promotion to the Premier League. Barnsley born with a Waterford father, Mick McCarthy has guided both Sunderland and Wolves out of the Championship during his club managerial career and also got his current club into last season’s play-offs on a shoestring budget.

High profile appointment

Although a club of Villa’s high profile is likely to attract as well as link some of the top available names in the game their main objective will be settle into life in the Championship quickly and rebuild after a disastrous campaign in the top flight that has resulted in them being relegated for the first time since 1987. Although some of those names include former Everton and Manchester United manager David Moyes it is not surprising that McCarthy’s odds of leading the club next season were slashed from 50/1 to 5/1 in mid-week as a number of former players and TV pundits, including Paul Merson, supported his candidacy.

And although McCarthy is contracted to The Tractor Boys at Portman Road until 2018 he did little to dampen speculation of his interest in the vacancy, unlike former boss Martin O’Neill at last Tuesday’s post-match press conference in the Aviva Stadium following the Republic’s 2-2 draw with Slovakia. When quizzed whether he thought his assistant Roy Keane might be interested in the Villa vacancy O’Neill replied that he would be disappointed if the former Villa assistant manager left his current post to return to Villa Park.

Flattered!

But after admitting that he was flattered to be linked to the Villa vacancy, Mick McCarthy must be regarded as a serious contender to be Villa’s third manger this season in succession to Remi Garde and Tim Sherwood who also led Villa to Wembley for last year’s FA Cup Final in his short spell at the club. “It’s flattering” said McCarthy about the speculation that Villa are interested in his services. “If the remit is for somebody that can get teams promoted, then I’ve got a pretty good CV for that haven’t I? McCarthy added: “It’s interesting, isn’t it? Maybe people who are not involved in the club that you’re at look from the outside and think….Hmm, you know what? Maybe he is doing a good job!”

In conclusion 57 year old McCarthy said: “Don’t even think that I’m not ambitious, that I’m settled here and i want to just be here doing what I’m doing and trying to get in the play-offs and I would like to get promoted and be in the Premier League again, however that might be but for now my focus is doing this job.”

It’s been a disastrous year for Aston Villa but McCarthy’s possible appointment as their next manager would also be good news for the Republic of Ireland and their in-from centre Ciaran Clark who looks set to be in Martin O’Neill’s starting X1 against Sweden in Paris on June 13. During Mick McCarthy’s reign at Portman Road he has also overseen the development of strikers Daryl Murphy and David McGoldrick who are both members of Martin O’Neill’s international squad.

Meanwhile Eric Black has been appointed caretaker manager of Aston Villa while they search for a new manager on a week that saw club captain Gabriel Agbonlahor dropped and the subject of an internal investigation.