Wolves: Relegated club to follow West Brom head coach role

Relegated Wolves are to follow the example of neighbours West Bromwich Albion by appointing a head coach, in the wake of Dean Saunders' sacking.

"The board has decided it wishes to appoint a head coach as opposed to a traditional first-team manager," said chief executive Jez Moxey.

Albion have had great success since appointing Roberto Di Matteo as their first head coach in June 2009.

And Wolves hope that switching to a similar structure will also pay off.

Albion's decision similarly came in the wake of relegation, in their case from the Premier League.

Out-of-contract Wolves players

  • Jody Craddock
  • Sylvan Ebanks-Blake
  • Stephen Hunt
  • Christophe Berra
  • Marian Kello
  • Jamie Reckord
  • Aaron McCarey
  • Sam Winnall
  • Johnny Gorman
  • Ethan Ebanks-Landell
  • Danny Batth, Leigh Griffiths and George Elokobi are all out of contract, but the club have a year's option on them
  • Contracts expire on 30 June 2013

Working alongside sporting and technical director Dan Ashworth (now the FA's director of elite development), Di Matteo won promotion back to the Premier League in his first season in charge and, although he was then sacked in February 2011, Roy Hodgson kept the Baggies up and then led them 10th last season before moving on to become England boss.

Steve Clarke has maintained that momentum to guarantee another top-10 Premier League finish.

Now, after removing four managers in 15 months, while becoming the first-ever side in English football to twice descend from the top flight to the third tier in successive years, Wolves are looking for a similar blueprint to bring stability back to Molineux.

It remains to be seen whether the new man will be responsible for sorting out the club's retained list, notably the future of the 13 out-of-contract players at the club, including injured top scorer Sylvan Ebanks-Blake, Stephen Hunt, Christophe Berra and Danny Batth.

But, without putting any timescale on the selection process, Moxey and owner Steve Morgan are handing the initial responsibility to Kevin Thelwell, promoted from academy manager to head of football development and recruitment in December.

"Kevin Thelwell will be responsible for leading the recruitment process," said Moxey.

"He will carry out the required preparatory work and make recommendations on candidates for the board to consider for interview.

"It is, of course, vital that the recruitment process is successful.

Steve Davis

Boyhood Wolves fan Steve Davis is a contender after two Wembley wins in as many years with Crewe

"This is an opportunity for us to build a stable foundation on which we hope to create a successful future based on smart recruitment, youth development and attractive football.

"The head coach will be responsible for bringing on-field success to the first team and will work with, and lead, our other football professionals to implement a new football strategy and philosophy for the club as a whole."

Most bookmakers currently have Kenny Jackett, who left FA Cup semi-finalists Millwall on Tuesday, and former Molineux midfielder Darren Ferguson, whose Peterborough United side accompanied Wolves down to League One, as the two leading contenders.

But Wolves could have another option a lot closer to home in ambitious Crewe Alexandra manager Steve Davis.

Davis led the Alex to promotion to League One via the play-offs in May 2012, after just seven months in charge, leading to him being interviewed for the Burnley job back in October.

His Crewe team then went on achieve mid-table security in his first full season in charge, even having a brief flirtation with a play-off place, as well as enjoying a return trip to Wembley to lift the Johnstone's Paint Trophy.

And, perhaps most importantly, the Sandwell-born former Birmingham City and Burnley defender is also a Wolves fan, well versed in the history and traditions of the club.