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West Brom begin making plans for Roy Hodgson departure


Sporting and technical director Dan Ashworth has revealed that West Brom have contingency plans in place should they need to find a replacement for head coach Roy Hodgson.

Ashworth claimed the club were prepared for the departure of any key staff member as part of an already-existing policy to ensure they are not plunged into a crisis by the departure of any individual.

Hodgson is expected to be named as England's new head coach after holding "positive" talks with the Football Association yesterday.

"Where we are strong as a club is in terms of our long-term planning," Ashworth said.

"After Roberto Di Matteo joined us as manager, I said we were looking at other managers and studying them so, in the event of him leaving, we would have a number of candidates in mind.

"I took a lot of stick for that with people saying it undermined the head coach. Well he was so undermined that he got us promoted.

"Looking at what might happen next is not disrespecting or undermining anyone. We were simply looking at who might be a good fit here should a change be needed.

"You don't want a decision to suddenly drop out of the sky and you sit there twiddling your thumbs thinking 'what do I do now'.

"You need to have some form of succession planning and that's the same with coaches, scouts, doctors, sporting and technical directors etc."

Birmingham boss Chris Hughton is believed to be high on the Baggies' list of potential targets should Hodgson link up with England, Press Association Sport understands.

Hughton came close to replacing Di Matteo at the Hawthorns 15 months ago after being sacked by Newcastle and was interviewed for the post before Hodgson was chosen.

But he has further enhanced his reputation since taking charge of Birmingham last summer.

Despite losing most of last season's relegated squad, and financial restraints, Hughton has guided Blues into the npower Championship play-offs.

Compensation would be an issue and Birmingham will be keen to hold onto Hughton after Alex McLeish quit last summer to join Aston Villa.

It is understood Hughton wanted to bring in his his own backroom team while the Baggies hierarchy preferred him to work with coach Michael Appleton - now Portsmouth manager - and goalkeeping coach Dean Kiely.

But West Brom chairman Jeremy Peace was impressed with Hughton when interviews were conducted.

It is believed Appleton and current Bristol City boss and former Albion skipper boss Derek McInnes will be discussed although the pair have only limited managerial experience.

Alan Curbishley - who rejected the chance to take the Wolves job in February - former Birmingham boss Steve Bruce, Malky Mackay (Cardiff) and Chris Powell (Charlton) are also potential candidates.