West Bromwich Albion surprised many on Saturday with their decision to sack manager Darren Moore.
The Baggies let the boss go following a 1-1 draw with Ipswich Town – a result which dented the club’s automatic promotion hopes.
Moore leaves the Hawthorns with the club in fourth place in the Championship, nine points off of the automatic promotion places.
Attention will now turn to who could replace the 44-year-old in the West Brom hot seat. Former Huddersfield Town boss David Wagner and ex-Fulham manager Slavisa Jokanovic have both already been linked with the vacancy, with the latter seemingly the far more likely to take up the position.
However, before the Baggies rush to make an appointment, there are other candidates to be considered.
Danny Cowley, and his brother and assistant manager Nicky, have taken the lower rungs of the English game by storm since taking over at Lincoln City. The pair arrived at Sincil Bank in 2016, having previously impressed with Concord Rangers and Braintree Town.
With the Imps they’ve been busy making history. In his first campaign, Cowley guided Lincoln to the quarter finals of the FA Cup – making Lincoln the first non-league outfit to reach that stage in the competition in more than a century. At the end of that season, he secured a landmark return to the football league by winning the Vanarama National League title.
The club made the play-offs in Cowley’s first season in the Football League. He also took Lincoln to Wembley Stadium for the first time in their history in April 2018, where they won the Checkatrade Trophy against Shrewsbury Town.
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Lincoln are currently flying high at the top of the table – automatic promotion from League Two looks to be on the cards at just the second time of asking.
His side may play functional football, but Cowley looks to be a manager who has everything it takes to make it to the top.
40-year-old former striker Ryan Lowe took charge of Bury in 2017 when his playing days with the club came to an end. He has since overseen a footballing revolution at Gigg Lane.
Following relegation from League One last season, Lowe has committed to cultivating a side who play attractive, attacking, passing football. In the confines of League Two he has achieved that. This approach has brought success on the pitch as well, as the Shakers are currently in the thick of the automatic promotion race, narrowly behind the leaders Lincoln.
Lowe’s style would see him arrive at the Hawthorns already well-suited to implementing the style of play preferred by the Baggies. Whilst he’s untested at such a high level, there’s plenty to suggest that Lowe would have what it takes to coax the best out of West Brom’s talented squad.
Of the three prospective candidates on this list, Feyenoord boss Giovanni van Bronckhorst would surely be the hardest to tempt to take up the position. However, it would be quite the coup if West Brom could attract the former Netherlands international to the Midlands.
The 44-year-old is a respected figure in world football. In his playing days he hoarded silverware, winning Scottish Premier League titles with Rangers, enjoying Premier League and FA Cup triumphs with Arsenal, and garnering La Liga and Champions League crowns with Barcelona.
He’s continued that success into management. Since taking charge of his hometown club Feyenoord in 2015, he has brought the glory days back.
At the end of his first full season in charge he won the KNVB Cup. His second season ended with the Rotterdam outfit being crowned Eredivisie champions for the first time in 18 years.
In January, he announced that he’d be leaving Feyenoord at the end of the current season.
The Baggies may have to wait until the summer to land their man, but securing the services of van Bronckhorst would certainly be a real statement of intent. Though, there’ll likely be plenty of competition for the Dutchman’s services.