• Tony Bloom expected to revert to Plan B

    Much has been made of the Albion's on-pitch ability to switch to 'Plan B'. Something different to the regular approach, perhaps considered when opponents are proving tricky to break down or, as with Greg Halford's long throws on Boxing Day, when the game is being chased.

    In his managerial appointments to date Albion chairman Tony Bloom has shown a very clear preference - his 'Plan A' if you will. Gus Poyet, Oscar Garcia and Sami Hyypia all shared similar characteristics - young, ambitious and high-profile top-level playing careers. None of the three were English, all had limited managerial experience and, Poyet aside, arrived with little knowledge of the Championship.

    With the Albion in the midst of a relegation dogfight, Bloom is also expected to switch tactics as he looks to select his third Albion manager in the last 21 months. Now is not the time for risks to be taken.

    There is every chance that the man taking his seat in the Albion dugout for the next home fixture on January 17th will be British (or, in the case of English-born Chris Hughton - British-ish) and have considerably more Championship experience than his predecessors.

    This approach would rule out MK Dons' Karl Robinson, who has also distanced himself from the role as well as Tim Sherwood, now a leading contender for the vacant Crystal Palace position.

    Much has been read into Paul Barber's comments in relation to the chances of Nathan Jones earning himself a promotion at the club, but Albion's Chief Executive was merely being respectful to the man in the caretaker position. With no first team management experience, Jones would also be a risky appointment.

    That leaves the likes of Tony Pulis, Chris Hughton, Nigel Adkins, Brian McDermott and, as an outsider, Tony Mowbray.

    Pulls, last season's Premier League manager of the year, would divide fans as much for his recent Palace connections as for the perceptions of the brand of football he arrives with, but there is no doubt he gets his teams well organised and difficult to beat. Neil Warnock's sacking at Crystal Palace may trigger a wave of managerial changes in the Premier League and Pulis may be holding out for a Leicester or a West Brom rather than dropping down to the Championship.

    Chris Hughton has proven Championship experience with both Newcastle and Birmingham, although critics would point to the rich resources available to him in both posts, as a result of recent Premier League relegations.

    Nigel Adkins is a name well-known and little-liked by Albion fans, but he impressively led Southampton to the Premier League before being controversially replaced by Mauricio Pochettino mid-way through his first campaign in the top flight. A big negative against Adkins' name will be Reading's under-performance in the Championship this season, and that won't have escaped Tony Bloom's eye.

    Brian McDermott enjoyed more Championship success at Reading than Nigel Adkins, leading the club into the Premier League. He also spent time at Leeds, but it is difficult to judge any manager on their performance at Elland Road, where there seems to be near-continual upheaval and instability. McDermott is currently scouting for Arsenal, a role he has indicated he will remain in until the end of the 2014-15 season. This would make him an outsider for any managerial position at this time.

    Tony Mowbray's most recent time at Middlebrough did not end well after previous flirtations with the play-offs. Despite this, Mowbray was well regarded for getting the Teessiders back on an even keel after Premier League relegation, slashing the club's wage bill and commencing Boro's rebuilding process.

    Albion fans who like a wager might consider taking some of the 4/1 available with SkyBet for Chris Hughton to be the next man in charge, whilst the 25/1 on Tony Mowbray might be worth a very small speculative dabble.


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