Alan Buckley, the Grimsby and former Walsall manager, quickly emerged as favourite to take over at the cash- strapped First Division club, who have had 10 mangers in the last 13 years. Albion have also noted the achievements of Jim Jeffries at Falkirk, while Peter Reid, these days playing for Bury, would have the attraction of costing them nothing.
Burkinshaw, 59, paid a predictable price for Albion's abysmal record during his 17 months in charge. Having avoided relegation on goal difference during his first season, they are bottom of the table after one win in 11 games.
The Yorkshireman's assistant, the former Aston Villa captain Dennis Mortimer, has also been sacked. John Trewick, the reserve-team coach and an ex-Albion player, will take charge of the side for tonight's home match against Sheffield United.
Albion's 3-1 defeat at Tranmere on Saturday - their fourth in a row - was the final straw for their chairman of 19 days, Tony Hale. 'A change of manager is in the best interests of the club,' he said. 'The board felt enough was enough.'
There was a farcical twist to Birkinshaw's last match when Trevor Summers, an Albion director, appeared in the dug- out at Tranmere and began shouting orders to the players. Burkinshaw, ironically, sat in the directors' box throughout.