Wolverhampton Wanderers have interviewed Steve Bruce, Neil Warnock and Alan Curbishley in the search for a replacement for Mick McCarthy, who was sacked as manager after Sunday's 5-1 mauling by West Bromwich Albion.
It is believed that Curbishley and Warnock were spoken to on Wednesday, with Bruce making his case yesterday. Curbishley, the former West Ham United manager, is favourite to fill the vacancy, with Steve Morgan, the club's owner, keen to have the new man in place in time for Wolves' next game, at Newcastle on 25 February. Wolves are not in action this weekend having been knocked out of the FA Cup.
Sunday's defeat at Molineux left Wolves in the bottom three, below Queen's Park Rangers, Warnock's former club, and Blackburn on goal difference and only a point ahead of Bolton. After the trip to Newcastle, Wolves face key fixtures at Fulham and then at home to Blackburn.
Morgan and Jez Moxey, the club's chief executive, are said to be keen on appointing an experienced replacement for McCarthy, who had been in the job for five and a half years. The club have not ruled out appointing someone for just the last 13 games of the season charged with keeping the club in the top flight, a role that may appeal to Warnock. Wolves would then look to bring in a younger manager for next season. Warnock – who has been linked with Leeds United and Huddersfield – and Bruce both began the campaign in charge of Premier League sides. Bruce was sacked by Sunderland in November, while Warnock was at QPR until last month. Curbishley has not managed since leaving West Ham in September 2008. In 2009 he won a case for constructive dismissal against the club.
At 54, Curbishley is a year older than McCarthy but he has won relegation battles before. He kept West Ham up in 2007 with seven wins from their last nine games, including a 1-0 victory at Manchester United, thanks to a Carlos Tevez goal in the final match. Warnock's Sheffield United went down instead.
Read Neil Warnock's column in 'The Independent' tomorrow