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West Brom board finalising decision over new head coach

By Matt Wilson | West Bromwich Albion | Published:

Albion's board are meeting early this week to finalise plans for their new head coach with an appointment expected in the international break.

Alex Neil and Slavisa Jokanovic.

Out-of-work Slavisa Jokanovic and Preston North End boss Alex Neil are the two front-runners for the position.

There is a third option on the table after the Baggies won back-to-back games under caretaker boss James Shan which would involve bringing in an experienced short-term appointment to help Shan see out the season before reassessing in the summer.

Michael Appleton and Craig Shakespeare would be the two most likely candidates approached for such a role.

But a permanent appointment is most likely with Jokanovic and Neil the primary candidates.

Albion held talks with Jokanovic last week and are known admirers of Neil, who has taken Preston to within one point of the play-offs despite operating with the fourth-lowest budget in the Championship.

However, it may be difficult to prise him out of Deepdale so near to the end of the season.

The Baggies ideally want to clarify the situation before the players return to training on Wednesday.

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Shan, who has picked up maximum points from his two games in charge, reckons it's an appealing job.

"Of course it is," he said. "Obviously we’re in a massive play-off push, or a promotion push depending on results and how things go.

"It’s a fantastic football club, a big, big club so it’s definitely an exciting proposition for the new man in.

"They’re an outstanding group. Lots of people would understand the footballing ability the group have but also they’re an outstanding group in terms of their personality and application, hence the way they’ve taken to me in the last two games."

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Regardless of what happens next, Shan will look back on last week with pride.

"Over the next few days when I’ve had some time away from the football club I’ll probably get a greater sense of pride," he said. "I never thought I’d be thrust into this position or situation.

"I started coaching 18 years ago on a school playground with a Birmingham City community scheme.

"I worked my absolute socks off to get qualified and to learn to get to this stage. So yes, It’s definitely been a proud moment and one I’ll look back on in many years."

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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