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Phelan, Jol among Baggies contenders

Former Manchester United assistant Mike Phelan is expected to be included on West Brom's shortlist of candidates to replace sacked manager Steve Clarke.

Mike Phelan was Sir Alex Ferguson's assistant for five years
Mike Phelan was Sir Alex Ferguson's right-hand man for five years.

• Evans: Clarke axe inevitable

Clarke was axed by the Baggies on Saturday, a decision that surprised many after he led the club to their highest ever Premier League finish of eighth place last season.

The Scot paid the price for a difficult start to 2012-13, his first managerial appointment ending after 18 months at The Hawthorns.

Recently sacked Fulham boss Martin Jol, who played for The Baggies in the 1980s, is currently the bookies’ favourite to take the job, with Glenn Hoddle, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and former Schalke manager Ralph Rangnick -- who was under consideration by Albion two years ago -- also thought to be in the running. Gianfranco Zola's departure from Watford on Monday saw his odds for the post plummet.

They are joined by Phelan, who has been out of work since leaving United following the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson. Phelan ended his playing career at West Brom and has made no secret of his desire to test himself as a number one, having served as Ferguson’s right-hand man for five years.  

Albion have stressed they are starting from scratch in their search for a new head coach, who will be expected 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.

Peace is a notoriously frugal and tough negotiator and has always been unwilling to pay compensation, so that is likely to rule out any moves for Cardiff City's Malky Mackay and Burnley's Sean Dyche.

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 was told on Sunday that he could even be needed for the Boxing Day trip to Tottenham Hotspur.

Meanwhile, Saido Berahino, is likely to be disciplined for an expletive-ridden tweet on Saturday evening, in which he wrote: “Wow i cant 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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