Updates from Thursday, April 17
Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert says he cannot discuss the reasons why Ian Culverhouse and Gary Karsa have been suspended by the club.
The assistant management pair were suspended on Tuesday, pending a club investigation, and temporarily replaced by Gordon Cowans and Shay Given.
"You will need to appreciate that because of a legal investigation I cannot comment on it," said Lambert.
"I appreciate your question but you have to respect my position."
Updates from Wednesday, April 16
Suspended Aston Villa coaches, Ian Culverhouse and Gary Karsa, are being investigated for acts of "bullying," according to Daily Mirror reporters James Nursey and Neil Moxley:
Several Villa staff, including physios and kitchen auxiliaries, have officially complained to the club’s Human Resources department this week about Culverhouse and Karsa, who have worked with Lambert at previous clubs Wycombe, Colchester and Norwich.
They have made statements that will be used in a disciplinary process which, if they are found guilty, could see the pair - who each have a year left on their contracts - dismissed without a pay-off.
Villa's chairman, Randy Lerner, released an official statement on Wednesday, alluding to the "very real obstacles" faced by the club following the promotions of Gordon Cowans and Shay Given as assistant managers:
Our manager has been faced with some unexpected issues that could have very easily set the Club back.
In watching him handle matters, along with our Chief Exec, I've seen total loyalty and commitment to Aston Villa while Gordon, a Villa man through and through, has repeatedly stepped up to support the Club regardless of the ask.
Shay, too, has been unhesitating in answering the manager's call. I couldn't ask for more from people who are up for this challenge and the very real obstacles we have to overcome, as is everyone at the Club.
Aston Villa have dealt with plenty of turmoil this season, and it reached a fever pitch on Tuesday as the club suspended two of its assistant managers.
According to an official statement courtesy of Aston Villa's website, assistants Ian Culverhouse and Gary Karsa have been suspended pending an internal investigation. No reasoning was provided for the decision, and it certainly paints a picture of dysfunction as far as Aston Villa supporters are concerned.
Per the statement, Culverhouse and Karsa will be temporarily replaced by Gordon Cowans and Shay Given on manager Paul Lambert's staff.
While there may very well be major issues behind the scenes at Villa Park right now, Cowans and Given are seemingly grateful and excited about the opportunity to assist Lambert.
"The manager has asked me to step up to assist him at this time and I'll do my utmost for the club and the manager in helping prepare the team for Saturday's game against Southampton," Cowans said.
Given added that a full team effort would be needed in order to succeed against Southampton and for the remainder of the campaign.
"As players, it's important that each and every one of us take responsibility right now and I'm delighted to play my part in helping the manager and the team go and try to win on Saturday," Given said.
Villa were expected by most to be in the upper half of the Premier League table this season, but that currently isn't the case. Aston Villa are scuffling in 14th place, and while relegation may not seem likely, they aren't out of the woods yet in that regard.
Aston Villa are just four points ahead of 18th-place Fulham, so they are in desperate need of a victory in order to stem the tide. They have lost four consecutive league games, and perhaps there is a feeling within the club that an administrative change will spark the squad.
Cowans and Given seemingly have a fantastic opportunity in front of them. If Villa are able to close out a disappointing season on a high note, then maybe they will be considered for the assistant positions on a full-time basis.
Aston Villa had to do something in order to shake things up, and while the circumstances surrounding the suspensions are murky and somewhat controversial, it may ultimately be the best possible decision for the club as a whole.
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