New manager: Roberto Di Matteo
Albion close to manager shortlist
Albion chairman Jeremy Peace is closing in on a Hawthorns shortlist as the club remain on course to hit next week’s deadline for appointing a new manager.
Former captain Derek McInnes continues to gather popular appeal, as Peace set a target for weekend interviews with a view to having Tony Mowbray’s successor installed by July 1.
McInnes, fresh from a promotion-winning success at St Johnstone in his first full season as a manager, remains one of the big favourites with supporters.
But Albion are also now conducting informal soundings on other ‘interesting’ names to come to light.
McInnes gets a thumbs up from those who remember his contribution to Gary Megson’s Premier League promotion winners.
Defender Neil Clement is the only remaining Albion player who shared pitch-time with the former midfielder.
He said: “No-one at Albion has a bad word to say about him. He is very highly thought of, a class guy and always gives 100 per cent in everything he does. I think he would do a tremendous job.
“He is a diplomat, a clever guy and he has done extremely well in his first managerial job.
“I would like to see him here. I have always got on well with him.
“He is a great ambassador for the club and he would be an inspired appointment.”
Although Albion would need St Johnstone’s agreement to offer McInnes the post, his employers have already admitted they would not stand in his way.
The 10 months he has left on his current contract suggests a compensation figure well short of the £2million the Baggies collected for Mowbray.
Interest in Darren Ferguson at Peterborough, Alan Irvine from Preston and MK Dons’ Roberto Di Matteo is complicated by compensation packages.
Albion want the new man to have a say on player matters, including Bolton’s interest in Paul Robinson.
A £500,000 bid has been rejected, as Albion are demanding twice as much