Goran Popov gets new manager at West Brom

Goran Popov; photo: skysports.comWest Brom has hired Keith Downing as its caretaker manager after Steve Clarke was relieved of his duties this past weekend.

Following West Brom’s latest loss this past Saturday, manager Steve Clarke was dismissed by the struggling club.  Clarke was the person who brought Popov to England on loan from Dynamo Kyiv.  Although Popov has not received much playing time, Clarke was the main reason that Popov was brought back for a second season.  The reason for that was the closely contested competition between Popov and Liam Ridgewell for playing time at the left-back position.  Clarke noted at the conclusion of last season that both players made one another better with how hard they competed in trainings for playing time.  That in turn ensured each player to be in good form, or risk losing his spot in the lineup.

That was last year, though, as this season Clarke had gone almost exclusively with Ridgewell.  In the 2012-13 season, Popov made 10 starts at left-back, while in this campaign he has been handed just one start which came as a result of Ridgewell being injured.  Otherwise, Ridgewell had started every other game this season with Goran either on the bench or not even in the matchday squad.

West Brom currently finds itself in 16th place out of the 20 team league in England’s top flight, just two points above the relegation zone, so Clarke was dismissed following Saturday’s 1:0 loss against Cardiff City.  That loss was West Brom’s fourth in a row, so the club management decided to make a managerial change to turn around the string of negative results.

Keith Downing will be the caretaker manager who will lead West Brom in their upcoming game against Hull City on Saturday, while the club begins the process of searching for a permanent solution at manager.  Some of the names that have been mentioned as possibilities include Martin Jol and Roberto Di Matteo.

Once a new permanent manager is named, that will leave Popov’s status up in the air.  Will the new man in charge still want Popov on the team, or would they look to cancel the loan agreement early and send him back to Dynamo Kyiv?  The winter transfer window is approaching rapidly, so we should have an answer to that question over the next month or so.

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