Wolves trust in Stale Solbakken for instant return to Premier League


Click to follow
The Independent Online

Wolverhampton Wanderers are to appoint the Norwegian Stale Solbakken, who briefly played for Wimbledon during the 1990s, as their new manager.

The 44-year-old was in England for a meeting with the club this week and is expected to be announced today as the successor to Terry Connor, under whose caretaker reign Wolves were relegated this month to the Championship. Solbakken was sacked by Cologne last month after a terrible season that saw the club in chaos and eventually relegated from the Bundesliga.

Connor is expected to stay on at Wolves and will be in charge for the final game of the season at Wigan Athletic on Sunday. The Wolves chairman, Steve Morgan, is understood to have told the club's annual dinner that he was prepared to give his new manager the funds this summer to return immediately to the Premier League.

Solbakken made his name as the manager of FC Copenhagen where he won five league titles before moving to Cologne in May last year. He was manager of the Danish club when they played Chelsea in the Champions League last season. Solbakken also suffered a cardiac arrest during a training session as a player at Copenhagen 11 years ago when Roy Hodgson was manager of the club, but made a full recovery.

A Norway international, he played a handful of game for Joe Kinnear in the 1997-1998 season at Wimbledon. He represents a major gamble by the Wolves board with the Championship such a difficult league to get out of even with the benefit of Premier League parachute payments. He is the club's first foreign manager.

Under Solbakken, Copenhagen built on the blueprint for success that had been created during Hodgson's one season at the club. They became the pre-eminent team in Denmark during Solbakken's time in charge and made progress in the Champions League beyond the group stages. He has been hard to replace at Copenhagen and his successor, the former Sheffield Wednesday and Coventry defender Roland Nilsson, has already been sacked and replaced with the club's technical director Carsten Jensen.