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Former Man United junior Ashley Westwood linked to Singapore job

ESPN FC's Jason Dasey and John Wilkinson look ahead to Singapore's final AFC World Cup qualifier against Afghanistan.

India-based English coach Ashley Westwood has emerged as a surprise candidate to take over from outgoing Singapore boss Bernd Stange.

Westwood, the former Blackburn Rovers assistant, has become one of the hottest prospects in Asian football after his feats with Indian giants Bengaluru FC, who won the 2014 I-League and 2015 Federation Cup titles.

While he hasn't been named on the preliminary list of candidates, sources tell ESPN FC that Bangalore-based coach has been sounded out for the job.

The 39-year-old, a former Manchester United junior who won the 1995 FA Youth Cup, refused to confirm the reports. He is currently negotiating with Bengaluru to sign a new four-year deal and has also been linked to the Indian national team job after a poor run of results in 2018 AFC World Cup qualifying under coach Stephen Constantine.

Ashley Westwood is a surprise candidate for the Singapore national team job.

During his playing career, Westwood made more than 400 senior league appearances as a defender for lower league clubs like Crewe Alexandra, Sheffield Wednesday and Bradford City. At Bradford, he also appeared in the Premier League in the 1999-2000 season.

Westwood cut his managerial teeth as an assistant to Michael Appleton at Portsmouth, Blackpool and Blackburn in 2012 and 2013.

Bengaluru are playing in the 2016 AFC Cup and should advance to the knockout stages along with Malaysia's Johor Darul Ta'zim should they win their next two home games against Myanmar's Ayeyawady United and Lao Toyota FC.

If Bengaluru progress further in the AFC Cup, Westwood could potentially attract the attention of clubs in bigger Asian competitions, including the A-League.

The Newcastle Jets have seen improvement this season with 34-year-old Scott Miller, an ex-Fulham assistant, in charge and Westwood might present a viable option for clubs looking to change coaches for their 2016-17 campaigns.

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