By Harry Sykes

Nigel Pearson is the frontrunner to become the new Aston Villa manager and he could be in the dugout next week, according to reports.

The Guardian claim that Pearson is the standout candidate to replace Remi Garde, who was sacked at the end of last month.

It is said the Villa board are still weighing up their options and considering other managers on their shortlist, including David Moyes and Steve Bruce, but the former Leicester boss has the support of several members of the new-look board.

Pearson has lined up former Charlton and Huddersfield manager Chris Powell to be his new number two when he makes a return to the dugout.

The Guardian report that the appointment of the new Villa manager will be made soon after the club’s inevitable relegation to the Championship is confirmed.

Villa’s fate could be sealed on Saturday before they play Manchester United, if 17th-placed Norwich pick up a point at home against Sunderland in the early Premier League kick-off.

There is a possibility that the new manager could be in the dugout for the home Premier League against Southampton on Saturday of next week.

The decision rests in the hands of Villa’s new football board, comprising of David Bernstein, Sir Mervyn King, Brian Little and Adrian Bevington. Chairman Steve Hollis will submit their recommendation to Randy Lerner, the Villa owner, to rubber-stamp the appointment.

In other Aston Villa news, a £54,000-a-week player is set to pay the price for a wretched campaign.