Tim Sherwood and Tony Pulis are the two names in the frame for the vacant head coach’s job at West Brom.
Former Tottenham boss Sherwood, who came close to getting the job in the summer, and ex-Crystal Palace and Stoke manager Pulis, who has a proven track record at saving clubs from relegation, are the overwhelming favourites to succeed the sacked Alan Irvine.
Both are available for the quick appointment the club are looking for, although Pulis has also been touted as a possible contender for the Newcastle job, with Alan Pardew seemingly on his way to Palace.
In the meantime, Baggies assistant head coach Rob Kelly is in caretaker charge and has vowed the team will fight on, despite searching for their fourth boss in just over 12 months.
Kelly will be in charge for Thursday’s trip to West Ham and, with Albion 16th in the Barclays Premier League after seven defeats in their last nine games, insists they must move on quickly.
He said: “We’re preparing for the West Ham game so we’re focusing on that. The players are obviously disappointed Alan has gone, not only as a coach but as a person.
“He would want them to train and prepare properly. That’s all we’ve reiterated. It’s happened. We draw a line and move on. The players are professional. All will know how to cope with it.
“I’m obviously disappointed but I know he’d want us to carry on and prepare as best as we can. It’s what he would want. We are professional people.”
But Kelly admits the players are likely to feel down after constantly defending him during their bad run.
He said: “You’d have to ask them that but I suspect so. They had a lot of respect for Alan. He’s a terrific person, a terrific man, and an excellent coach but they’re professional people so we get on with our jobs, which is exactly what Alan would want us to do. We will do that at West Ham.”
Kelly has ruled himself out of taking the job permanently and the Baggies want to appoint before Saturday’s FA Cup visit of Gateshead with Sherwood and Pulis in the frame.
Irvine was axed just six months after replacing Pepe Mel and only won four games of his 19 in charge in the league.
Steve Clarke was also sacked in December 2013 and Mel only last until May before being dismissed.