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By ESPN Staff

Houllier: Give McLeish a chance

Gerard Houllier has urged Aston Villa fans to give his successor Alex McLeish the chance to prove he is the right man for the managerial job.

• McLeish: I'll win over the fans
• Blog: Fans' fury should be aimed at Lerner

Former Birmingham boss McLeish has upset some sections of Villa supporters by making the move across the city to replace Houllier, with fan protests venting their anger. But Houllier, who was forced to quit because of health reasons three weeks ago, believes McLeish should be given the opportunity to show his credentials.

He said: ''I think Gabby Agbonlahor (Villa striker) said some comments about giving him (McLeish) a chance - and I agree. He's football through and through and I think he's a good signing for the club.

''I've known him a long time and he's a nice person and a straightforward guy. I think Alex is strong enough. He's got the personnel to win football matches.''

McLeish will give a fresh chance to players such as Stephen Ireland, Stephen Warnock and Habib Beye, who had little opportunity to play under Houllier.

He said: ''There will be a clean slate for not only the young players but also the players already here. That includes those who perhaps were probably in the doldrums, those not playing at their best.

''Maybe we can give them a spark by coming in. It's a clean slate for everybody.''

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