Hughton in talks to be West Brom boss
Published 23:00 09/02/11 By John Percy
Chris Hughton is being lined up for a rapid return to the Premier League after talks with West Brom last night.
Hughton could be named as Roberto Di Matteo’s successor as early as Friday after Roy Hodgson ruled out a swift managerial comeback of his own.
Former Newcastle boss Hughton was locked in talks with Albion chairman Jeremy Peace on Wednesday afternoon over a £1m-a year contract.
The 52-year-old was surprisingly sacked by Newcastle in December and has also been interviewed for jobs at Ipswich and Crystal Palace in the last two months.
But West Brom are set to appoint him in the next 48 hours - although caretaker Michael Appleton is expected to take charge of the crucial relegation showdown with West Ham.
Hughton is set to sit in the stands at The Hawthorns this weekend before officially starting work on Monday.
Albion moved for Hughton after Hodgson made it clear he wanted a longer sabbatical after his dismissal at Liverpool earlier this year.
Hughton will be charged with the task of saving the Baggies’ bacon this season - but the appointment is still very much with an eye on the long-term.
He already has a promotion from the Championship on his CV with Newcastle and Peace felt this was crucial in the event of the club suffering relegation.
Appleton will remain with West Brom even if Hughton brings in his own back-room staff and is targeting a vital win in their survival mission.
The 35-year-old said: “I’ve never hidden the fact that I wanted to be a manager when I retired. It took me 48 hours to get my head around it but now I’m thoroughly looking forward to it.
“I’ve been at West Brom for 10 years and I felt it was my responsibility to look after the players. “Ultimately, I want to win the game, the players want to win the game and it’s my job to make sure that I prepare them so we can get three points.
“The chairman has said he wants me to look after first team affairs until I’m told differently. I will be as professional and prepared as possible and make sure that the players are in the right frame of mind for Saturday.
“We’ve still got games to go and we’re not in the bottom three so the message is to keep going. It is an opportunity on Saturday to get three points and hopefully push on.”
Albion are only out of the bottom three on goal difference and have lost 13 of the last 18 matches.
Hughton’s first game is expected to be the Black Country derby with rivals Wolves next weekend.