Hibernian supporters urge club to let Mowbray shape his future

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The Independent Online

Tony Mowbray should be allowed to talk to West Bromwich Albion about their managerial vacancy, according to the Hibernian Supporters' Association.

The Easter Road club have confirmed the Baggies' request to speak to Mowbray, and the former Ipswich coach has been informed of the Championship club's interest. The highly-rated 42-year-old, in his third season in charge of the Edinburgh club, rejected the chance to return to Portman Road as manager in May.

Mowbray and his assistant Mark Venus agreed a 12-month rolling contract last month, although that does not come into effect until the end of the season

HSA treasurer Frank Dougan believes Mowbray should be allowed to shape his own destiny. "If the club do not let Tony speak to West Brom, then it could lead to a lot of resentment," he said. "Hibs should allow him to speak to them and see who he prefers, West Brom or us. And, hopefully, he prefers Hibs.

"But we have to realise Tony has ambitions to get to the top level just like players do. And I don't believe in holding anyone back if they want to better themselves. If you have a good reputation, then other clubs will always be tempted.

"When he was linked with Ipswich, I wished him all the best because I thought he would go there. I really thought he would be tempted by that job. But I don't want him to go and, if he stays, I will be very happy.

"He is a promising young manager and the football he has served up for us has been phenomenal. I just hope he continues doing that. I don't know if he will, the only person who knows is Tony Mowbray."

Hibernian chairman Rod Petrie is confident the SPL club's desire to hold on to their manager is greater than Albion's wish to take him to The Hawthorns.

He said: "West Brom have made a very public enquiry about our manager Tony Mowbray. It is unprecedented that another club would name our manager on their website.

"However, their website makes it clear that Tony is only one of a number of people they wish to interview.

"Based on my discussions with their chairman, Jeremy Peace, it appears that Hibernian's desire to retain Tony is stronger than West Bromwich Albion's interest in adding a candidate to a selection process."

Hibs play host to Hearts on Sunday in the first Edinburgh derby of the Scottish Premier League season, but Dougan does not expect the current air of confusion in Leith to have any effect on the players.

"The players are all professionals and will be ready for the game." he said. "It should not bother them because these things happen in football and they just have to get on with it."

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