Steve Bruce early favourite to replace Roberto Di Matteo as Aston Villa manager

Steve Bruce, Mansfield Town v Hull City friendly, Field Mill
Image: Steve Bruce is currently favourite to be the next Aston Villa manager

As Aston Villa begin their search for a fourth new manager since the start of 2015, we look at the contenders to take on the task.

Roberto Di Matteo lost his job just 11 games into the season, with Saturday's 2-0 loss at Preston leaving the Midlands outfit with just one win and 10 points.

Here are the favourites to replace the Italian according to Sky Bet's next Aston Villa manager market

What went wrong for Di Matteo?

What went wrong for Di Matteo?

Aston Villa have sacked Roberto Di Matteo after just 124 days in charge - but where did it go wrong?

Steve Bruce - 4/6 with Sky Bet

The former Hull manager has emerged as the early favourite despite his Birmingham City connections, having served as both a player and a manager at St Andrew's.

LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 28:  Steve Bruce, manager of Hull City celebrates after the Sky Bet Championship Play Off Final match between Hull City and Sheffield
Image: Bruce earned promotion with Hull last season, but left the club in the summer

The 55-year-old's main credentials stem from his stint in charge of the Blues, having led them to promotion twice, while he also guided the Tigers to the Premier League last season before stepping down after a fall out with the owners.

Bruce was linked with the England job, both when Roy Hodgson departed and again following Sam Allardyce's exit, but is now considered an 11/2 shot, with the Villa Park post considered more likely.

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David Wagner - 11/2 with Sky Bet

The Huddersfield boss continues to impress in his first full managerial post, having learned his trade as Jurgen Klopp's assistant at Borussia Dortmund.

Roberto Di Matteo and David Wagner during the Sky Bet Championship match at Villa Park
Image: David Wagner has led Huddersfield to the top of the Sky Bet Championship

The Terriers are making a mockery of the odds in the Sky Bet Championship, sitting top of the league following Saturday's 1-0 win at Ipswich, having been expected to struggle this season.

If Wagner's ultimate aim is to manage in the Premier League then the odds imply he should stay put, with the EFL sponsor suggesting his current side are more likely to secure promotion than Villa, with 15 points currently between the two sides.

Dean Smith - 8/1 with Sky Bet

Brentford also continue to punch above their weight in the Sky Bet Championship, sitting just outside the play-offs as we head into the international break.

BRENTFORD, ENGLAND - APRIL 30:  Dean Smith, manager
Image: Brentford's Dean Smith is also a contender

The 45-year-old initially impressed during his stint at Walsall, who he led to Wembley for the first time in their history, finishing runners up to Bristol City in the Football League Trophy last season, before the Bees came calling.

Smith was actually quizzed on links to the job before Di Matteo even received the push, talking down the speculation in this weekend's pre-match press conference despite admitting he is a life-long Villa fan.

Sam Allardyce - 11/1 with Sky Bet

It would be a surprise to see the former England manager return to work so quickly after he left the national job after just 67 days in charge following the Daily Telegraph's investigations.

Sam Allardyce leaves his home the day after losing his job as England manager
Image: Sam Allardyce was sacked as England manager last week

There are still unresolved issues to his departure which could block any move for him and Villa are not in a position to mess around and need to get the appointment right.

Nigel Pearson - 14/1 with Sky Bet

The ex-Leicester boss was interviewed in the summer but ended up going to Derby, yet could be available after a falling out with owner Mel Morris led to his suspension last week. 

Any move for Pearson would mean Villa must deal with the baggage he carries and that is likely to turn them off but he has a track record of saving clubs after his successful second spell at Leicester.

Mick McCarthy - 16/1 with Sky Bet

There was interest in the former Republic of Ireland boss under the previous regime following relegation from the Premier League in May and McCarthy is a battled-hardened Championship manager.

Mick McCarthy has strongly criticised the "inconsistent" opinions of some of Ipswich Town supporters
Image: Ipswich boss Mick McCarthy is among the contenders for the Villa job

There are rumblings of discontent at Portman Road after a fourth game without a goal in their Huddersfield loss, but McCarthy has done a fine job with little cash to spend.

Other options

Steve McClaren and Steve Clarke once again crop up, as they seem to do for most vacancies, while Bristol City's impressive young manager Lee Johnson is also considered a contender. Ryan Giggs follows in the betting at 14/1 as he awaits a first managerial post, while former Villa frontmen Dwight Yorke and Stan Collymore are considered 50/1 chances.

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