Championship

West Bromwich Albion: Fear must grow of interim appointment as Neil distances himself

West Bromwich Albion: Fear must grow of interim appointment as Neil distances himself

Preston manager Alex Neil, reportedly one of the leading contenders for the West Brom manager’s job, played down links to the role, but would not rule out taking over definitively

The former Norwich boss dismissed the rumours as merely “speculation” and admitted that the only discussions he has had with anyone is about Preston North End.

Neil told the Lancashire Post: “There is speculation all the time. The amount of times I have sat in press conferences at different clubs and people will say ‘I hear you are signing so-and-so’ and I have never even heard of them.

“It is a case of someone saying something to a paper somewhere or someone starts a rumour, then all of a sudden it catches fire and it is all over the place.

“The one thing that is absolutely guaranteed is that I have had no discussions with anyone about anything other than Preston North End. That is it.”

The favourite for the role continues to be former Fulham manager Slavisa Jokanovic, and it would surely be a surprise if the Serbian was not offered the job.

But fears must be growing among Albion fans that the club may decide to leave current caretaker boss James Shan in place for the remainder of the season, before making a permanent appointment in the summer.

It would be a disastrous decision, given the Baggies’ position in the table, and promotion still a more than realistic aim.

It would leave the club in a bit of a status quo, with the similarities between their current position and that when they installed Darren Moore to replace Alan Pardew last season.

Fans would rightly see it as a backward step, and should the club fail to be successful in returning to the Premier League — likely to be through the play-off route — then the finger would be pointed at the club hierarchy, and no one else.

For Albion to have a realistic chance, they must make the most of the upcoming international break, and install their man immediately, whether it be Jokanovic, Neil, or someone currently under the radar.

The uncertainty is not helping anyone, least of all, the players.

What are your thoughts on the managerial situation at your club Baggies fans? Who would be your preferred choice? Let us know and join in the debate…

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