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Five Aside
By ESPN Staff

Curbishley favourite for Baggies role

Alan Curbishley has been quickly installed by bookmakers as the early favourite to succeed Bryan Robson as West Brom manager.

Curbishley, who has been out of football since leaving Charlton at the end of last season, is quoted at evens to take over from Robson who parted company with the Baggies after 22 months on Monday.

Robson's number two and current caretaker boss Nigel Pearson is second favourite at 8-1 and he was given permission last season to speak to Ipswich when their managerial seat became vacant.

Luton's Mike Newell (10-1), former Villa managers David O'Leary and John Gregory plus Lawrie Sanchez (12-1), Glenn Hoddle and John Ward (14-1) and Alex McLeish (16-1) are also amongst the candidates.

Meanwhile, Robson believes Albion are in a far healthier state than when he took charge almost two years ago - both on and off the field.

And the former England captain insists West Brom would now still be in the Premiership had they invested in more players during the January transfer window.

Robson was keen to bring in the then Middlesbrough pair of Ugo Ehiogu and Jimmy-Floyd Hasselbaink but was prevented from doing so because of finances.

He said: 'I feel if we had invested well in January, we would not have been relegated. I wanted to bring in Ehiogu and Hasselbaink but couldn't because of finances.'

Robson added: 'I am really pleased with what I have done since I've been at Albion. When I joined there were no players of any real value but I've left the club with a £30million squad.

'I'm pleased that I've built the club that way. We've got an academy now and the training ground is excellent. Hopefully I have given something back in the two years I've been at the club.'

Robson insisted: 'The squad has been weakened this season by injuries to Thomas Gaardsoe, Neil Clement and Curtis Davies but when everyone is fully fit and healthy, I still feel this squad will get promoted.

'Albion are only five points off the leaders and I am disappointed to be leaving because I am sure I would have got Albion back into the Premiership.'

Albion defender Steve Watson admitted to being 'devastated' by the news of Robson's departure as one of the senior players along with Davies, Zoltan Gera and Paul Robinson persuaded to stay after the Baggies went down in May.

He said: 'It's come right out of the blue. We were told in the dressing room on Monday. I'm devastated for the gaffer but that's football.'

Albion advertised in July for a sporting and technical director to help with developing the football side of the club but insist no appointment is imminent amidst reports linking current Gretna coach Mick Wadsworth with the role.