By Harry Sykes

Steve Bruce has emerged as a leading contender to replace Roberto Di Matteo at Aston Villa, according to a report.

The Sun claim Bruce is ready to step in at Villa Park if the club dispense with manager Di Matteo, who was only appointed during the summer.

It is said that the 55-year-old is keen on the job even though he once managed arch-rivals Birmingham and he would unlikely to be a popular appointment with the majority of the fanbase.

Ex-Blues boss Bruce is keen on a return to management after leaving Hull during the summer following their promotion from the Championship.

The Sun report that Bruce has told friends that the Villa job appeals to him even though his links with Birmingham would mean a tough battle to win over the supporters.

But the owners, led by new chairman Tony Xia, may ignore that and look instead at his remarkable record of taking clubs to the Premier League.

Villa have had a poor start to the new season, even though they came from a goal down to secure a 1-1 draw against promotion favourites Newcastle at Villa Park on Saturday.

Aaron Tshibola headed a late equaliser as the home side fought back to draw with the Magpies in a meeting of two of last season’s Premier League teams.

However, Villa are placed a lowly 17th in the Championship table after taking just nine points from their nine league matches this season.

In other Aston Villa news, West Ham chief Karren Brady has hit out at Stan Collymore for his letter to Jack Grealish.