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Sep 19, 2012

Clarke wants to help find next Ashworth

West Bromwich Albion head coach Steve Clarke wants a role in the recruitment process to find a successor to fill the "big hole" left by Dan Ashworth's departure to the Football Association.

• Ashworth takes FA role

Ashworth, Albion's sporting and technical director, will leave the Hawthorns later this season to take up the director of elite development role with the FA.

Clarke admits to having mixed feelings over Ashworth's appointment as the new director of elite development at St George's Park.

While he is naturally pleased for his colleague, he also recognises the huge task Albion have in their search to find a suitable replacement who can continue Ashworth's excellent work at the club.

"First of all my first reaction was that I'm delighted for Dan. It's a great honour for him to be approached by the FA and asked to do that job," Clarke said. "From a club point of view, and selfish point of view, it will be a big hole for the club to fill. But they've already started looking at candidates and we'll work on that and try to do as good a job as we can to replace Dan."

Ashworth has made it clear he will do all he can to find a replacement before he ends his eight-year stint with Albion, but Clarke wants to be involved too.

The former Chelsea player intends to hold talks with chairman Jeremy Peace and be part of the recruitment process.

"I haven't sat down yet with the chairman so I will find some time to do that and discuss it with him," he said. "There is no grave rush but I would like to sit down with Dan and the chairman and discuss the way forward. Dan will help the club make the transition from his era to a new era and we will all work together to make sure it's as smooth as possible and a smooth transition."

Clarke is the fourth manager or head coach to work with Ashworth, who was appointed during Tony Mowbray's stewardship in July 2008.

Mowbray was succeeded by Roberto Di Matteo in July 2009, with Roy Hodgson arriving some 19 months later.

Albion's system of employing a sporting and technical director to work in tandem with a head coach was viewed with suspicion and derision in some quarters when first implemented, but Clarke believes it is a model many clubs will now try to imitate.

"It's down to honesty," he said. "Dan tells me everything he's doing, he tells me what I need to know, he's very open. We have open discussions and that's the best way to make it work. That's his area of expertise. The club employ a head coach which is his area of expertise and the two should work side by side. In the short space of time I've worked with Dan that's been the case.

"The influx of foreign owners and the large amount of cash means it's becoming more and more the case that clubs want to keep control of who they're buying and how they're spending their money. I think going into the future it (Albion's system) will become more prevalent."

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