West Bromwich Albion: Danny Cowley & Chris Hughton under consideration to be head coach

Danny Cowley (right) led his side to an FA Cup fourth round win over Chris Hughton's Brighton in January 2017
Danny Cowley (right) led his side to an FA Cup fourth round win over Chris Hughton's Brighton in January 2017

Lincoln City's Danny Cowley and ex-Brighton boss Chris Hughton are among the four candidates being touted as West Bromwich Albion's next head coach.

Albion have not commented but technical director Luke Dowling says they are to start interviewing names on a four-man shortlist, with a view to making an appointment in the next fortnight.

"We gauge that it will be a two-week process," Dowling told BBC WM 95.6.

"But it might take a little longer than that if someone was in work," he added.

"We've narrowed it down to four. We might manage to squeeze in all four next week. But, within the next two weeks, we'll have been in front of all four of them.

"Then we can gather our thoughts at this end, to see who we go back to, whittle it down to two and make a decision on the back of that."

First-team coach Jimmy Shan, who had been in temporary charge following the dismissal of Darren Moore on 9 March, has already been assured that there will still be a role for him next season.

But any outside chance Shan might have had of landing the job was put paid to by the Baggies' penalty shootout elimination from the Championship play-offs by neighbours Aston Villa on Tuesday night, denying them a swift return to the Premier League.

While changes are inevitable as they prepare for a second consecutive season outside the top flight for the first time in over a decade, West Brom feel their financial position is strong enough to put together a squad that will be competitive at the top end of the Championship.

Cowley & Hughton's credentials

No decision over the manager has been made yet, but both Cowley and Hughton will figure highly in discussions.

After spells at Concord Rangers and Braintree, former PE teacher Cowley has transformed Lincoln since becoming their manager in 2016.

He has earned two promotions in three years, taking Lincoln from the National League to League One for next season.

In 2017, Lincoln became the first non-league team in over a century to reach the FA Cup quarter-finals and on Tuesday Cowley was named the League Managers' Association manager of the year for League Two.

It is understood that the Baggies would have to pay Lincoln £500,000 in compensation if they brought in Cowley.

Hughton, 60, was sacked by Brighton on Monday, having spent four and a half years with the south coast club, memorably guiding them back to the top flight after a 34-year absence in 2017.

The former Republic of Ireland international has also had spells at Newcastle, Norwich City and had some success in the West Midlands just a few miles down the road with Birmingham City seven seasons ago.

Hughton took Blues to the Championship play-offs in 2012, just as the club's off-field financial situation was taking a turn for the worse, having been made open to offers

Having already played down reports that he was the leading candidate to succeed England new manager Roy Hodgson when he was about to exit The Hawthorns, Hughton did quit St Andrew's a month later, leaving the West Midlands for East Anglia by opting to join Norwich.

Luke Dowling was talking to BBC WM's Rob Gurney.

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