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The current Norwich City boss leads the market ahead of Roberto Martinez and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to take the Villa Park vacancy

Norwich boss Paul Lambert remains the 15/8 (2.87) favourite for the Aston Villa job despite an industry-wide gamble on Mick McCarthy on Tuesday.

The former Wolves boss came crashing down in price as rumours were rife of another Midlands manager playing the Villan, but Sportingbet make him 16/1 (17.0) behind both Lambert and Roberto Martinez in the betting.

Martinez is chalked up at 4/1 (5.0) to take the job he resisted last summer, though Wigan owner Dave Whelan has been quoted as saying the young Spaniard can only leave for a big club.

He also expressed doubts over whether Villa had the pedigree to tempt his manager away from the JJB. Although the Spaniard might also be tempted by the vacancy at Anfield, should he be offered the position.

Aston Villa Chief Executive Paul Faulkner publicly disagreed, while also revealing an intention to make a swift appointment this summer. However, should Lambert turn down the move to Birmingham the race could be blown wide open.

Outsiders attracting attention have been Chris Hughton at 25/1 (26.0), Gus Poyet at 20/1 (21.0) and Alan Curbishley at 25/1 (26.0), but could a name not yet mentioned enter the fray?

Rafael Benitez could be a 20/1 (21.0) option, having previously expressed an interest in returning to manage in England but Andre Villas-Boas is in prime position for the Liverpool job, while 40/1 (41.0) Paolo Di Canio has caught the eye with League Two champions Swindon this term.

If the process is anything like that endured by Villa fans last summer, it seems unlikely the men at the top of the betting will be in charge. Pick the right man now and he could be a huge slice of value by the time that press conference is announced.

Next Aston Villa manager:

Paul Lambert: 15/8 (2.87)
Roberto Martinez: 4/1 (5.0)
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer: 4/1 (5.0)
Mick McCarthy: 16/1 (17.0)
Gus Poyet: 20/1 (21.0)
Rafael Benitez: 20/1 (21.0)
Chris Hughton: 25/1 (26.0)

Check out all of Sportingbet’s topical markets at www.sportingbet.com/specials and get a £50 Risk Free Bet when you register a new account.

Jim Knight is Betting Editor at Goal.com and has been tipping football games since he was old enough to place a bet. He is a Leicester City fan, writer and member of the We Are Going Up Podcast
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