Clarke is facing the first obstacle since his appointment as the Football
Association prepares an official approach for Dan Ashworth,
While it would be churlish to ignore the achievements of Clarke, who has
already made his first management job appear easy with an unbeaten start,
the loss of Ashworth would be significant to a club who have now become a
model of stability in the
Ashworth is understood to be aware of the FA’s interest and must decide whether to stay, or take on the daunting task of overseeing the future of English football. He has established an excellent reputation after spearheading West Brom’s recruitment policy and the club’s academy.
This is the man who discovered Youssouf Mulumbu and Claudio Yacob, the two
outstanding performers in Saturday's 2-0 win over
Nobody knew who Peter Odemwingie was when he arrived from Russia two years ago, but he underlined his importance with a stunning contribution for the opening goal.
An approach for Ashworth is expected in the next few days. Nothing can detract from Clarke’s work, however, and this was his third win in four games since succeeding Hodgson. Albion’s victory guaranteed their best start to a season since the 1978-79 campaign under Ron Atkinson and Odemwingie believes Clarke has already silenced any doubters.
He said: “He was a coach that we didn’t really know of so you can’t say exactly what’s going to happen. But he has started smoothly and looks like someone with more experience than a first-timer.
“We needed some time to see his training methods and how he wanted us to play but he is very ambitious. He has said that he wants to build and instead of just trying to stay in the league he wants to win one of the cups.”
Clarke’s tactical changes here yielded far better rewards than the tweaks made by David Moyes in the second half. The introduction of Odemwingie was pivotal as his exquisite cross presented Shane Long with an easy finish to register his third goal inside a week.
Albion finished strongly and Gareth McAuley nodded in Chris Brunt’s corner to condemn Moyes to only his first defeat in 12 league games, stretching back to March.
It could have been different if Marouane Fellaini had not produced such an appalling miss shortly before the hosts’ opening goal, in what was a frustrating afternoon for the Belgian. Clarke got his tactics spot on in nullifying Fellaini’s threat.