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Keith Downing tipped to succeed at West Brom by music star cousin

Sport | Published:

Judas Priest guitarist KK Downing reckons his relative could save Albion - if fans forget his Wolves past!

Albion coach Downing, 48, has taken up the reins at The Hawthorns following Steve Clarke's sacking.

He is the cousin of KK Downing, 62, the legendary lead guitarist and songwriter of heavy metal band Judas Priest.

The retired musician is desperate to see his relative do well in Saturday's home game against Hull.

But he is conscious the former midfielder made over 200 appearances for Albion's bitter rivals Wolves from 1987-1993.

Downing, who holds a UEFA A License, then also progressed his early coaching career at the Molinuex club.

Grammy Award winning guitarist KK said: "He has to duck and dive a bit because he was at the Wolves.

"You know what it is like, it is full on the Wolves and West Brom local derby.

"You do get a few Neanderthals but most people with a level of intelligence can see he devoted himself to football and not just the Wolves.

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"That is what footballers do, they play football. It is an international game now and not just about a specific club.

"I think most people will appreciate that. You have to accept that but at least Keith has stayed in the area.

"When he was at the Wolves for about eight years, I was away travelling but it would be nice to see him do well now."

Downing has established himself as a key member of Albion's backroom staff since joining the club in 2009 as academy coach.

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The Oldbury-born ex-midfielder then stepped up to work with the Baggies' first team under Roy Hodgson in March 2011.

He was appointed joint-assistant head coach under Steve Clarke, when the Scot took charge in June 2012.

But Clarke was axed after a run of four straight defeats left Albion only two points off the Premier League relegation zone.

Now they have a vital game at home to promoted Hull this weekend as the club search for a successor to Clarke.

KK Downing, who owns The Astbury golf course in Shropshire, added: "I will keep an eye on that, that will be good.

"Hull are playing well at the moment."

KK Downing was speaking at his championship golf course near Bridgnorth which has just announced a sponsored deal with Darren Clarke.

Meanwhile Downing - who has ruled himself out of the full-time job - reckons expectations are too high at the Hawthorns following last term's eighth-placed finish.

He said: "2013 was a fantastic eighth position and we massively overachieved.

"The club is established and had a lot of strengths with a good set of players. We need a bit of realism of where we are.

"I think we're aware we're in a relegation fight, no-one has visions of grandeur.

"I can't say whether the decision to sack Steve was premature - I can't make that comment.

"The decision's been made and we need to be respectful. There's a load of people out there who want this job."

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