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West Brom must bounce back from play-off disappointment, and seal this deal ASAP

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The dust may have settled around The Hawthorns following the conclusion of their season, but for many of those connected to West Bromwich Albion, it may be some time yet before the pain of defeat has fully healed.

Tuesday night’s agonising penalty shootout defeat to local rivals Aston Villa means that the Baggies push for an immediate return to the Premier League has ended at the play-off semi final stage, meaning they must now prepare for another push towards the promised land next season.

Even though many around the club may want to forget about football for the time being after defeat, West Brom are simply not in the position to do that, with the club having left themselves in a position where they still have much to put in place for next season, not least when it comes to finding someone to take charge of the side for next season.

Whilst Jimmy Shan has done an admirable job since stepping in following the sacking of Darren Moore at the start of March, it was always made clear that his time as interim manager of the club would only be until the end of the season.

Fortunately for Albion, an obvious replacement has just become available.

The morning before the second leg of West Brom’s play-off semi final with Villa, Brighton and Hove Albion announced that, after four and a half years in charge, Chris Hughton had been sacked as the club’s manager.

Already the reports linking Hughton with a move to The Hawthorns has begun, and it is easy to see why.

The 60-year-old has a proven track record of both getting clubs into the Premier League, and keeping them there, having done one, the other or both with the likes of Newcastle; Norwich and Brighton.

It is hard therefore to see a person better suited to what West Brom need right now than Hughton, although they will have to move quickly if they are to get their man.

Given his credentials, it seems likely that Hughton will not be short of offers, meaning West Brom may well need to secure his services quickly before he is snapped by another Championship side in a similar position.

Once Hughton has been brought in, he will need as much time as he can get to familiarise himself with the club; plan for the season and make the changes to the squad that he wants, so you feel there really is no time to waste.

When Moore was moved on in March and Shan was put in temporary charge, it quickly became clear that the club had little or no plan in place when it came to finding his successor.

This time however, it seems a simple plan has fallen right in front of them. Now all they need to do is execute it, and then that pain will start to hurt a little less.

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