Football: Little on course for Hawthorns

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The Independent Online
Brian Little has confirmed that he is keen to move back into management after emerging as the favourite to take over at West Bromwich.

The former Aston Villa and Leicester City manager, who left Stoke earlier this summer, has been tipped as a replacement for Denis Smith who was sacked as Albion's manager on Tuesday.

"I want to get back into football," Little said. "Everyone knows that I am available. But I didn't expect there to be an opportunity quite so soon."

The 45-year-old, who left Stoke in the middle of last season, met the Albion chairman, Tony Hale, and director, Joe Brandrick, at a secret location in Staffordshire yesterday.

John Gorman, the former England No 2, is considering whether to follow Smith out of The Hawthorns. Gorman, who joined the Baggies on a short- term basis earlier this month, has been asked to stay on but he said: "I came to the club for one person only and that was Denis. I have not come to stab him in the back. At this time I would say that my loyalties are with Denis."

Smith says he is determined to bounce straight back into management after his dismissal. "If I had any doubts about my ability then I would leave the job alone," he said.

Brian Kidd, the Blackburn Rovers manager, is making a pounds 3m offer for Bradford City's transfer-listed Robbie Blake.

Kidd has offered cash for the striker, who is in a contract dispute with his club. Rovers want Blake to play alongside Ashley Ward up front to spearhead their plans for an immediate return to the Premiership.

Blake has been put up for sale by Bradford, who are offering him around pounds 150,000 a year in wages, plus appearance money worth a possible pounds 100,000. That is well short of the kind of money being paid to some of Bradford's summer signings - and what he could earn at Ewood Park - and Blake, currently on under pounds 100,000, has rejected it.

Kidd switched to Blake after being quoted a fee of pounds 5m by Sheffield Wednesday for his first-choice target, Andy Booth.

Kidd is definitely signing the versatile Simon Grayson from Aston Villa for pounds 750,000. Grayson was having a medical last night after a price was agreed and he has chosen Rovers ahead of a return to Leicester City.

Rovers have a handful of players missing for the start of the season, including Jason McAteer, Darren Peacock and probably Ashley Ward.

Bjarne Goldbaek looks set to become Nottingham Forest manager David Platt's second signing. Forest have agreed a pounds 1.5m fee with Chelsea for the 31- year-old Danish midfielder, who moved from FC Copenhagen last season.

Stephane Bonnes, out of contract at the French side, FC Mulhouse, who were struggling to pay his wages, has agreed a four-year deal to join Celtic.