Pepe Mel heads the list as West Brom step up hunt for a replacement for sacked manager Steve Clarke

Real Madrid assistant manager Paul Clement and former Osasuna manager Jose Luis Mendilibar are also on the radar

West Brom are expected to hold talks with several managerial candidates on Friday as they close in on a replacement for Steve Clarke.

West Brom sacked Clarke two weeks ago after a run of four successive defeats left the midlands club on the periphery of the Barclays Premier League relegation zone.

Albion have taken their time in putting together a list of possible successors as they are keen to get the right man for the job.

Pepe Mel is believed to be the frontrunner for the position, but Press Association Sport understands the former Real Betis boss is by no means certain to get the job.

It is understood Albion are keen to hold talks with other candidates before making a decision.

Paul Clement, who is currently assistant to Carlo Ancelotti at Real Madrid, has been linked with the position, as has former Osasuna boss Jose Luis Mendilibar and ex-Liverpool defender Mauricio Pellegrino.

Reports suggested that Mel was at White Hart Lane to watch West Brom's 1-1 draw against Tottenham on Boxing Day, but Press Association Sport understands that was not the case.

Still, Mel is the bookmakers' favourite to take the hot seat.

The 50-year-old has been out of work since being sacked by Real Betis on December 2.

Mel, who started his playing career at Real Madrid, spent three years at Betis and he has also managed Rayo Vallecano, Tenerife and Getafe.

The Spaniard has never coached outside of his homeland, but midfielder Zoltan Gera sees no reason why that should be a problem.

Gera, who made his first start in a year on Boxing Day, points to the example of Southampton, who have gone from strength to strength under Mauricio Pochettino even though he had no experience of the English game before he replaced Nigel Adkins in January.

"I don't know whether a foreign manager will come in, but you never know," Gera said.

"If you look at Southampton, they are doing well with a foreign manager. But I trust the club and I think they will make a good decision and get a good coach."

Caretaker manager Keith Downing is expected to take charge of the team for Saturday's crunch clash against West Ham at Upton Park.

Although the search for a new boss could stretch into a third week, Gera insists the uncertainty will not affect the players.

"We are just looking at the games and prepare for Saturday at West Ham," Gera added.

"We don't need to think about new coaches, we just need to be professional and do our best.

"It's a nice group and you can see we're sticking together in the Christmas period."

Downing followed up a 1-1 draw against Hull with another creditable stalemate versus Tottenham on Thursday.

Downing's men showed resolve, bouncing back from Christian Eriksen's opener to come away with a point thanks to Jonas Olsson's equaliser.

West Brom are three points outside the drop zone, but West Ham are two points from safety after their 3-1 defeat to Arsenal.

Downing expects the Hammers to come out fighting at Upton Park.

"We know what they are like, we know their strengths are and I am sure Big Sam (Allardyce) will have them charged up," Downing said.

"It's a big game, but we have never shied away from the position we are in and we need to get as many points as we possibly can and pave the way for the new man to come in."

PA

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Latest in Sport
Sport
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

A Very British Coup, part two: New novel in pipeline as Jeremy Corbyn's rise inspires sequel

A Very British Coup, part two

New novel in pipeline as Jeremy Corbyn's rise inspires sequel
Philae lander data show comets could have brought 'building blocks of life' to Earth

Philae lander data show comets could have brought 'building blocks of life' to Earth

Icy dust layer holds organic compounds similar to those found in living organisms
What turns someone into a conspiracy theorist? Study to look at why some are more 'receptive' to such theories

What turns someone into a conspiracy theorist?

Study to look at why some are more 'receptive' to such theories
Chinese web dissenters using coded language to dodge censorship filters and vent frustration at government

Are you a 50-center?

Decoding the Chinese web dissenters
The Beatles film Help, released 50 years ago, signalled the birth of the 'metrosexual' man

Help signalled birth of 'metrosexual' man

The Beatles' moptop haircuts and dandified fashion introduced a new style for the modern Englishman, says Martin King
Hollywood's new diet: Has LA stolen New York's crown as the ultimate foodie trend-setter?

Hollywood's new diet trends

Has LA stolen New York's crown as the ultimate foodie trend-setter?
6 best recipe files

6 best recipe files

Get organised like a Bake Off champion and put all your show-stopping recipes in one place
Ashes 2015: Steven Finn goes from being unselectable to simply unplayable

Finn goes from being unselectable to simply unplayable

Middlesex bowler claims Ashes hat-trick of Clarke, Voges and Marsh
Mullah Omar, creator of the Taliban, is dead... for the fourth time

Mullah Omar, creator of the Taliban, is dead... again

I was once told that intelligence services declare their enemies dead to provoke them into popping up their heads and revealing their location, says Robert Fisk
Margaret Attwood on climate change: 'Time is running out for our fragile, Goldilocks planet'

Margaret Atwood on climate change

The author looks back on what she wrote about oil in 2009, and reflects on how the conversation has changed in a mere six years
New Dr Seuss manuscript discovered: What Pet Should I Get? goes on sale this week

New Dr Seuss manuscript discovered

What Pet Should I Get? goes on sale this week
Oculus Rift and the lonely cartoon hedgehog who could become the first ever virtual reality movie star

The cartoon hedgehog leading the way into a whole new reality

Virtual reality is the 'next chapter' of entertainment. Tim Walker gives it a try
Ants have unique ability to switch between individual and collective action, says study

Secrets of ants' teamwork revealed

The insects have an almost unique ability to switch between individual and collective action
Donovan interview: The singer is releasing a greatest hits album to mark his 50th year in folk

Donovan marks his 50th year in folk

The singer tells Nick Duerden about receiving death threats, why the world is 'mentally ill', and how he can write a song about anything, from ecology to crumpets
Let's Race simulator: Ultra-realistic technology recreates thrill of the Formula One circuit

Simulator recreates thrill of F1 circuit

Rory Buckeridge gets behind the wheel and explains how it works