Alex McLeish's turbulent 11-month spell in charge of Aston Villa was brought to an end by the club's board yesterday afternoon.
As with any Premier League club looking for a manager, the rumour mill is already in full swing as to who will replace McLeish at the Villa Park helm.
With that in mind, Sports Mole has complied a list of the five men that are currently considered to be the leading contenders for the job.
Villa attempted to hire Martinez last summer before they eventually opted for McLeish. It now appears that owner Randy Lerner is ready to have a second crack at securing the Spaniard's services. Much may ride on the situation at Liverpool, with Martinez being heavily linked with a move to Anfield should Kenny Dalglish step down.
Having guided Norwich City through League One and the Championship, Lambert proved that his managerial capabilities stretch as far as the Premier League last season. In terms of history, Villa are a bigger club than Norwich - something that could tempt the Scottish boss to change teams.
McCarthy is believed to be keen on a return to management following his sacking by Wolverhampton Wanderers in February. What may count against McCarthy is the fact that he endured a poor run of results during his stint with Wolves. However, Lerner would not have to part with any compensation to capture McCarthy's signature.
Poyet has been widely tipped to take a job in the Premier League in the near future. Whether or not the Villa role is an attractive proposition for the Uruguayan remains to be seen. Despite having a lack of managerial experience at the top level, Poyet's style of play is likely to prove popular with the Villa faithful.
There are not many jobs in the Premier League that Ranieri does not get linked with and the Villa post in no different. The Italian is known to be keen on a return to England, where he coached Chelsea for four years up until 2004. Having managed the likes of Valencia and Fiorentina to trophies, his winning mentality could appeal to the Villa board.
Who will be Aston Villa's next manager?
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