Next West Brom Manager: Why the only way is Howe

Eddie Howe has previously won two Football League promotions

With the list of possible Pepe Mel successors underwhelming, Michael Lintorn expects them to look in the Championship...

"Feeding lower down the British food chain has regularly proven an effective hiring strategy for West Brom before."
Recommended Bet: Back Eddie Howe to be next West Brom manager at 12.011/1

West Brom's reputation as one of the Premier League's best-run clubs has been hurt by the decision to axe Pepe Mel only four months and 17 matches after appointing him.

Just as when they sacked his predecessor Steve Clarke last December, the pool of attractive candidates to replace the Spaniard is alarmingly shallow, something that West Ham and Aston Villa should consider before making any rash calls regarding Sam Allardyce and Paul Lambert's futures.

The front three in the betting are Chris Hughton at 5.24/1, Tim Sherwood at 5.59/2 and Malky Mackay at 6.05/1, but each of those names is followed by a loud alarm bell.

Hughton recently had a huge hand in Norwich's relegation from the Premier League, Sherwood has the Phil Brown affliction, whereby his respectable results are overshadowed by his unfavourable media image, and Mackay won a mere four of his 18 Premier League games as Cardiff boss.

Even if they are intrigued by Sherwood, would they really pay Tottenham compensation for an employee who is surely about to be ditched? If they hold out for his dismissal, they risk being caught in a game of chicken with Spurs chairman and master of Levy-nomics, Daniel Levy (1pm Update: Sherwood has now gone).

As for Mackay, the Scot's role at Cardiff saw him and his staff allowed a heavy involvement in transfer policy - at least if Vincent Tan's latest flurry of outlandish remarks is to be believed - and the job at The Hawthorns is a head coach gig, with recruitment led by Richard Garlick.

It is a structure should suit someone like Michael Laudrup, who is probably the most appealing of the experienced contenders at 30.029/1. However, despite being sacked by Swansea, the Dane likely sees his next position coming at a more high-profile side, potentially in Spain.

With the Baggies presumably planning to ignore foreign options who haven't worked in England before after the teething problems with Mel, it may force them to dip into the Football League.

Feeding lower down the British food chain has regularly proven an effective hiring strategy for West Brom before. Their first Premier League promotion-achiever Gary Megson was snared after a spell in the third tier with Stoke, Tony Mowbray arrived from Hibernian, Roberto Di Matteo from MK Dons and Steve Clarke following an extensive apprenticeship as a number two.

Eddie Howe is the manager in the market who best fits the bill at 12.011/1, with the 36-year-old guiding Bournemouth from 21st in League Two to tenth in the Championship in his nascent career.

Oddly, the move might be a tougher sell for Howe than West Brom, as he left Burnley in 2012 to drop down a division and return to Bournemouth for family reasons, though it would be a brave man who turns down the chance to lead a Premier League club.

Recommended Bet: Back Eddie Howe to be next West Brom manager at 12.011/1

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