Stephen Pond/EMPICS Sport Alex McLeish on the bench at Carrow Road yesterday.
# Exit strategy
Oh 'Eck! McLeish facing the sack as Lerner holds Villa talks
It is understood that club owner Randy Lerner will fly in from the US to speak with the manager and chief executive, Paul Faulkner.

ALEX MCLEISH WILL hold talks about his future at Aston Villa after a poor season ended in a 2-0 defeat at Norwich.

It is understood that club owner Randy Lerner will fly in from the US to speak with the manager and chief executive, Paul Faulkner.

The discussion will centre on whether McLeish should take responsibility for the season’s failures or whether the difficult circumstances he faced should be taken into account.

The Midlands club finished 16th and had to wait until the penultimate fixture to secure their survival, registering the club’s worst home record in their history with just four wins at Villa Park. Reports previously surfaced in April that senior officials were dissatisfied with the Scot, with attendances dwindling and notable unrest among supporters at his previous association with local rivals Birmingham and a perceived negative style of football.

Lerner has had three managers in three seasons at the club, after Martin O’Neill resigned in the summer of 2010 before Gerard Houllier left the club on health grounds last summer. The American is rumoured to be considering the introduction of a continental-style managerial setup with a manager working in partnership with a director of football.

Roberto Martinez was approached last summer, but chose to remain with Wigan, and he will again be heavily linked with the position, while Swansea’s Brendan Rodgers could also be in the frame. Over the course of the season McLeish has had to cope with cut-backs to the wage bill, and has frequently been forced to turn to younger players after incurring long-term injuries, namely Richard Dunne, top goalscorer Darren Bent and the leukaemia diagnosis of captain Stiliyan Petrov.

He did however condemn his side’s performance in their final day defeat to the Canaries and told reporters: “It was an absolutely shocking, woeful display. Maybe some of the boys were thinking about their holidays already.”

He maintained his intentions to instigate changes at the club, who have already begun their preparations for next season with the signing of Australia international Brett Holman from AZ Alkmaar.

“That team needs a change and there will be change,” McLeish said. ”We need to bring more quality into the squad. I’m expecting the board to back me. I understand the fans’ frustrations about that display but I’m not a quitter.

“I might not have had the riches to spend of other managers, but believe I can turn Aston Villa around by adding quality and players who are going to work their socks off.  It is up to me to turn the opinion around. I have to get a team in that Villa jersey with a winning mentality,” he added.

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