• Premier League

Phelan in frame for vacant West Brom job

ESPN staff
December 16, 2013
Mike Phelan, left, was assistant to Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United © PA Photos

Mike Phelan is expected to be included on West Bromwich Albion's shortlist of candidates to replace Steve Clarke, following the sacking of the head coach on Saturday.

The former Manchester United assistant to Sir Alex Ferguson has made no secret of his ambition to take a number one role, since he left Old Trafford following Ferguson's retirement.

Phelan was considered for the Wigan Atheletic role, but overlooked in favour of Uwe Rosler, but is believed he will figure on a list of potential replacements and Albion are expected to make initial contact this week.

Albion have stressed they are starting from scratch in their search for a new head coach who will be prepared to work within the coaching framework already in place at the Hawthorns and they are prepared to cast their net wide, but have ruled out a rumoured return for former manager Roberto Di Matteo.

Michael Appleton, former first team coach and assistant to Clarke's predecessor Roy Hodgson, is also expected to be under consideration and remains highly regarded by Peace.

Appleton was viewed as potential management material during his time with the club and Albion were reluctant to allow him to leave to take on managerial responsibilities at Portsmouth.

He is currently out of work after difficult spells as manager at Portsmouth, Blackpool and Blackburn Rovers and his immediate availability and the lack of any compensation packages are an attraction for Peace.

Martin Jol and Glenn Hoddle are other names which have been linked with the post, along with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and former Schalke boss Ralph Rangnick, who was under consideration by Albion two years ago and was a candidate to replace David Moyes at Everton this summer.

Albion have stated they have no one lined up for the post at this stage and they will compile a shortlist in the next 48 hours. Joint assistant manager Keith Downing is expected to take charge of the home game against Hull City on Saturday and he was told on Sunday that he could even be needed for the Boxing Day trip to Tottenham Hotspur, underlining that West Bromwich are starting their search from scratch.

Clarke has warned of "unrealistically" high expectations at the club in a statement to the League Managers Association after securing the club's highest ever finish in the Premier League and for over 30 years in the top flight by finishing eighth in 2012-13, in his first season as a number one.

Peace has been concerned by results over the last 12 months and after spending £11 million on the final day of the summer transfer window felt the team was underachieving and heading for relegation and Clarke was informed of the club's decision on Saturday evening and placed gardening leave and will be paid until the end of his contract which expires in the summer.

Saido Berahino, meanwhile, is likely to be disciplined for an expletive-ridden tweet on Saturday evening, in which he wrote 'Wow I can't believe it, that's f****** s***!!!!". Berahino later deleted the message and claimed that it was not related to Clarke's departure, but he can expect to be punished.

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