West Brom: Pepe Mel ruled out as search for new manager continues

West Brom have ended negotiations with former Real Betis boss Pepe Mel as their search to replace former boss Steve Clarke continues.

Clarke was sacked as head coach on 14 December following a fourth straight Premier League defeat.

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Keith remains in charge for (Saturday's) game at West Ham United and until an appointment has been made

Richard Garlick

Mel had flown to London for talks with West Brom regarding their vacancy.

But while he wanted to bring in his own team of backroom staff, the Baggies wanted to stick with their own coaches, including Keith Downing and Dean Kiely.

Mel, whose three-year spell at Betis came to an end on 2 December, will fly back to Spain while West Brom consider other candidates.

Malky Mackay, who was sacked as Cardiff City manager on Friday following a long-running dispute with owner Vincent Tan, is now favourite to take over at The Hawthorns.

West Brom have already held discussions with several candidates.

Former Osasuna boss Jose Luis Mendilibar and ex-Liverpool defender Mauricio Pellegrino have been mentioned as possible candidates, as has Paul Clement, who is currently assistant to Carlo Ancelotti at Real Madrid.

The Baggies released a statement on Friday stating that they were closing in on a new head coach. Until that appointment is made, Downing will continue to be caretaker.

"We have identified suitable candidates to work within our existing structure," sporting and technical director Richard Garlick said.

"This is a confidential process and it is inevitable there will be speculation about whom may be under consideration.

"We are now progressing through the interview and short-listing stage. We plan to make an appointment at the earliest opportunity but our primary concern is recruiting the most suitable individual.

"We are grateful for the professional manner in which Keith Downing, the coaching staff and the players have approached the last two games.

"Keith remains in charge for (Saturday's) game at West Ham United and until an appointment has been made."