In good news for Aston Villa, and even better news for Gérard Houllier, the Frenchman, who was admitted to hospital on Wednesday, will not need surgery. Assistant Manager Gary McAllister said he'd visited Houllier and he seemed in fine spirits, needing just rest and medicine rather than surgery.
Of course, we all know that standing on the touchline watching Villa play does not afford one much time for rest and relaxation. I'm 7500 km away from Villa Park and I need whisky at 8am just to get through some of these games. As Aaron pointed out yesterday, unofficial word is that Houllier will not return to the dugout for the remainder of the season, leaving GMac in charge for the remaining five matches.
Aston Villa are reluctant to confirm that Houllier will remain far away from the sideline -- but on the other hand, the club also will not say anything more than "he will be back." Back in the stands? Back in a more technical role for the club? Back coaching an entirely different team? Whatever it is, we know McAllister will be the one leading the Villa against Stoke City. Whether that provides comfort to Houllier or slows down his recovery, well, only time will tell.
Best wishes for a speedy recuperation from everyone at 7500, Gérard.