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Preston boss Alex Neil emerges as candidate in West Brom managerial hunt

By Matt Wilson | West Bromwich Albion | Published: | Last Updated:

Albion’s search for a new head coach could now drag on into the international break as Preston North End boss Alex Neil emerged as a candidate.

Alex Neil. (AMA)

Caretaker boss James Shan will take charge of the team against Swansea at The Hawthorns on Wednesday night and has been told he could be in the dug-out for the trip to Brentford on Saturday.

Talks with Albion’s initial target Slavisa Jokanovic remain ongoing, but a deal is yet to be agreed with the former Fulham and Watford boss.

It’s believed a number of other possible appointments remain on the table for the Baggies, who sacked Darren Moore on Saturday night.

Albion had initially hoped to bring in Jokanovic early on, and also approached David Wagner, who is unavailable until summer.

They are not ruling out making an appointment before Saturday's Brentford game, but there is also a strong chance the new man isn't in place until after that match.

The Baggies are admirers of Neil, an impressive young manager who has taken Preston to within four points of the play-offs despite having the fourth-lowest budget in the division.

The 37-year-old started managing in his early 30s at Hamilton Academical and also won promotion out of the Championship with Norwich City via the play-offs.

However, the fact he’s currently in charge of a club with potential play-off credentials themselves and there’s only 10 games to go this season could make an appointment tricky.

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If Shan steers Albion to a victory over Swansea, he is more likely to be in charge for the Brentford game.

"At the minute, it's been said I'll take Swansea," revealed Shan. "As a staff we've had to plan for two games.

"The international break is timely, and gives a chance to breath and reflect.

"Obviously we've got the main focus on Swansea but one eye on Brentford. As a staff we will plan for both those games until told otherwise.

"The goal has always been to gain promotion. The players in the dressing room are more than capable of that.

"Whoever comes in will inherit a fantastic work ethic with fantastic quality. Fuse those two together and you've got a powerful team."

Matt Wilson

By Matt Wilson
Football MMPJ - @mattwilson_star

Sports reporter at the Express & Star, who primarily covers West Bromwich Albion.

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