Portsmouth boss could steal a march on Ranieri for West Brom post

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England-bound Roy Hodgson bid farewell to West Bromwich Albion yesterday, leaving Portsmouth manager Michael Appleton as 2/1 favourite to succeed him at the Hawthorns.

Appleton has raced clear of former Chelsea boss Claudio Ranieri in the betting, with many believing he is primed to return to the club where his coaching career began.

Despite previously outlining a desire to stick with Portsmouth in League One, and a promise to restructure the club from top to bottom, the Hawthorns hot seat must be an appealing prospect to Appleton.

At a club he already knows well, the Pompey boss would be free of the financial woes that work so vehemently against him on the South Coast, and would likely be backed to further solidify West Brom’s Premier League status.

In a tenure which spans little more than six months, Appleton has endeared himself to Portsmouth fans with his honesty amidst the club’s dismal financial situation.

His temptation to quit the club behind must now be huge however, if it is to be believed that he is Albion chairman Jeremy Peace’s first choice for the vacant post.

A former West Brom midfielder, Appleton is already popular amongst Baggies fans, whilst his performance in a coaching role at the club has earned him great respect amongst current club staff.

He briefly served as assistant manager to Hodgson at the Hawthorns too, following a short stint in charge on a caretaker basis, after Roberto Di Matteo was placed on gardening leave back in early 2011.

Appleton still has three years remaining on his Portsmouth contract, so a compensation package would have to be agreed with the club were West Brom to make an approach.

It is not thought that the South Coast club would stand in his way should he opt to speak to the Baggies, and Appleton looks as though he may be set to return to the club where his coaching career began.

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