Leeds boss Brian McDermott today emerged as a surprise contender to replace Pepe Mel at Albion as Terry Burton prepared to lead the search for the new Baggies head coach.
Sacked Manchester United manager David Moyes topped an Express & Star poll to find out who fans want to take over at The Hawthorns.
But McDermott shot to the top of several bookmakers’ lists less than 24 hours after Mel was shown the door with Chris Hughton and Malky Mackay thought to be outsiders at this stage.
Burton, who briefly assisted Roy Hodgson during his spell as Albion head coach, is set to return to the club in the next 48 hours after holding face-to-face talks yesterday about a role assisting sporting and technical director Richard Garlick.
Ex-Albion captain Derek McInnes, who was last week named manager of the year in Scotland after leading Aberdeen to third in the SPL, is also a potential contender while former caretaker boss Keith Downing will need to decide whether to apply.
Moyes is unlikely to be a realistic option despite topping the online poll.
Moyes polled 32 per cent with more than 1,500 votes cast, with ex-Swansea boss Michael Laudrup second on 17 per cent. Mel, 51, oversaw three wins and eight defeats in 17 Premier League games at the helm after being appointed in January and left yesterday by mutual consent.
Garlick said: “Both Pepe and the club set out with the best intentions of making the appointment work.But it was in the best interests of both parties for there to be an amicable parting.”
Keeper Ben Foster said: “It was always going to be a tough ask because there was a language barrier.”
Mel’s daughter Iris Mel Montero responded to many affectionate messages from fans by tweeting: “Thank you very much for your affection. We love you too.”