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Di Matteo tipped to return to the Hawthorns hot seat with WBA

| 16.12.2013

West Brom sacked manger Steve Clarke after their 1-0 loss to Cardiff on Saturday – making the Scot the fourth Premier League manager to leave their post this season.

The West Midlands club currently sit in 16th spot – just two points above the relegation zone, but also just four points off 10th-placed Swansea.

Hot on the heels of Martin Jol’s departure from Fulham, the Baggies have made the decision just four weeks after suggesting that they would hold new contract talks with Clarke in January.

WBA Sporting and Technical Director Richard Garlick explained: “This club’s track record proves we do not take such decisions lightly, having only enforced a change in this position three times in approximately 14 years.

“We now begin the search to find a new head coach who will work within our existing structure, which has been in place for the past six years.”

Bet on Di Matteo to be next WBA manager at 6/1

One man who has experience of that structure is former boss Roberto Di Matteo.

He coached the club between 2009 and 2011 and led the club back into the Premier League before losing his job the following February.

He is the current 6/1 joint favourite to return, although a large pay-off from his former club Chelsea after his departure from Stamford Bridge could complicate matters.

The other market leader is the aforementioned Jol.

The Dutchman did well at Fulham but his side seemed to lose faith in him this season and it remains to be seen whether the board at WBA would want to appoint a coach whose current confidence levels might be low.

Bet on Martin Jol to be next WBA manager at 6/1

Of more interest at a bigger price is Mike Phelan who is 25/1.

The former Manchester United coach worked under Sir Alex Ferguson and was heavily involved in the day-to-day work on the training ground.

Phelen is keen to prove himself as a Head Coach and looks an interesting outsider.

Another former Man Utd favourite Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is a name often thrown into the hat when vacant positions arise.

The 10/1 chance is currently in charge of Norwegian side Molde and he has guided the club to two championships in three years.

However Molde didn’t enjoy a great season in 2013, finishing in just sixth place.

Bet on Solskjaer to be next WBA manager at 10/1

Other interesting candidates include Paul Clement and Ralf Rangnick.

Clement has worked at Fulham and Blackburn as a coach and is currently the assistant coach to Carlo Ancelotti at Real Madrid.

His experience of working in a modern structure favoured by the Baggies makes him look an ideal candidate from the club’s point of view; he’s 8/1.

Rangnick studied in England and the former Schalke boss – who was linked to the Everton job in the summer – is also an 8/1 chance.

Meanwhile caretaker manager Keith Downing is 25/1 to get the job on a permanent basis.



Nic Doggett