West Brom are slowly sleepwalking towards an instant return to the Championship as they sit ten points adrift of safety with only nine games left to play.
It would take a major, and surprise, turnaround for Sam Allardyce to save the Baggies from what seems like the inevitable and that leaves the hierarchy at the Hawthorns with some decisions to make.
Especially as a man they have coveted before is now freely available in Chris Wilder.
Indeed, according to The Athletic’s Steve Madeley, Albion are “known admirers” of the 53-year-old and in a recent column for the aforementioned site, Madley claims he is a clear contender to replace Sam Allardyce.
Who do you want in charge of WBA next season?
And that’s where the decision now lies for Luke Dowling and co.
For now, the 66-year-old remains in the hot seat as performances have vastly improved. Pre-January, the Baggies were leaking in three, four and sometimes five goals on a weekly basis but now they are picking up hard-earned draws – that, however, is not enough to keep them in the big time.
The Big Sam era looks to be following that of the fateful Alan Pardew reign. The former Newcastle United man was put on gardening leave around this time until his summer break clause could be activated.
There must now be a temptation to do the same with Allardyce as he’s far from the ideal candidate to get a side back up following relegation. The veteran is under contract until 2022, but like Pardew, has a relegation clause within his contract, as per The Athletic.
Failure to keep the Midlands outfit in the Premier League should be enough to see Dowling trigger said clause, though it’ll be done with far less toxicity than that of the Pardew era.
Yes, Allardyce has won promotion from the second division before, but not since 2012 with West Ham. Things are vastly different now and the experience and nous of Wilder, who took the Blades up in 2019 before finishing ninth in their maiden PL campaign could be huge for West Brom.
The recently-sacked manager would surely connect with the fanbase a lot better than a lot of previous contenders – Allardyce certainly sits in the Tony Pulis and Roy Hodgson camp, than one similar to a Slaven Bilic or Darren Moore, who both galvanised the Hawthorns faithful with their style of football.
Wilder is used to a big turnover of players, which is something also facing Albion come the end of the season, whilst his unique tactics have seen just one poor season in two decades.
Given his recent experience in the division, there cannot be many more equipped and readily available than the 53-year-old – Dowling must make him a top priority as soon as possible.
AND in other news, “Phenomenal” titan could save West Brom millions this summer…