Steve Bruce in talks with Aston Villa as they look to appoint a new manager

It has been a very tough time for Villa fans in recent months

Steve Bruce, Hull

Picture by: Barry Coombs / PA Wire/Press Association Images

Steve Bruce looks to be the favourite to take over from Roberto Di Matteo at Aston Villa in the wake of the Italian being sacked by the club earlier this month.

The former Hull manager (and author of such classic crime stories as Sweeper) has reportedly been in talks with the Birmingham-based club to take over. 

Di Matteo was sacked by Villa after a disastrous start to the season that has seen them win just one of their first 11 matches, and Bruce's record of getting teams promoted from the Championship has attracted interest from the club.

Bruce has been without a club since he left Hull shortly before the start of the season, citing frustration at the lack of progression from the club and their dealings in the transfer market. 

However, he also interviewed with the FA ahead of Sam Allardyce being awarded the England job, and may also be looking at becoming involved in that process again in the wake of Allardyce leaving the job. 

According to the BBC, Bruce has held "exploratory talks" a number of times over the past few days with the Birmingham club, and that: "Keith Wyness, Villa's chief executive, has been charged with talking to Bruce. The last conversation was a 20-minute phone call on Friday.

"Wyness told him 'the process' was continuing and that he'd get back to Bruce.

Steve Clarke, Di Matteo's assistant, remains in charge at Aston Villa as the search continues, but it certainly appears that Bruce is the favourite. However, with Tony Xia in charge and looking to help the club return to the Premier League success, there are a number of people interested in the job. 

Former Aston Villa manager Tim Sherwood has also thrown his hat in the ring, despite being sacked last season after leading the team to a run of eight defeats in 10 games. Sherwood told TalkSport that he was disappointed for Roberto Di Matteo but that: "It’s a year since I left the club and in that time they’ve had three managers. So something has to change.

"Listen, I don’t know these new owners. I was there under a different regime [...] it was a really difficult situatiuon for me. But when you go into a club when someone wants to really pick it up and take it forward, then it’s a great opportunity for any young manager. Certainly, yeah, I would be no different to anyone else."