Football: Little on course for Hawthorns

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The Independent Online
BRIAN LITTLE, the former Aston Villa and Stoke City manager, was in talks yesterday about becoming the new manager at West Bromwich Albion.

The 45-year-old, who left Stoke in the middle of last season, could well be the man to succeed Denis Smith who was sacked by West Brom on Tuesday. Little met the Albion chairman, Tony Hale, and director, Joe Brandrick, at a secret location in Staffordshire yesterday and could be installed quickly as the new manager of the First Division club if talks prove successful.

John Gorman, the former England No 2, is considering whether to follow Smith out of The Hawthorns. Gorman, who only 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. I came to be a help to Denis and to help them get off to a good start to the season. At this time I would say that my loyalties are with Denis. My gut feeling is that I probably would feel that I have to leave the club."

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 immediate promotion back 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.