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West Brom Opinion: Baggies linked with Jack Ross- A calculated risk?

According to the Sun on Sunday, West Brom have shortlisted Sunderland manager Jack Ross as a potential candidate to take over the reins at the Hawthorns on a permanent basis at the end of the season.

The Baggies are currently managed by James Shan following the dismissal of Darren Moore but they have been unable to regain consistency under their interim manager. West Brom have lost some pretty straightforward fixtures against the likes of Millwall and Bristol City in recent weeks and it looks highly unlikely that Shan is going to be at the helm of affairs beyond the current season.

Preston North End’s Alex Neil was one of the front-runners for the permanent job but the Scotsman has poured cold water on those speculations by signing a new three-year deal at his current club. (H/t BBC)

Interestingly, West Brom have set their sights on another Scotsman in the form of Jack Ross to take the club forward. The 42-year-old took charge at Sunderland last summer and has managed to steady the ship at the Stadium of Lights following back-to-back relegations.

The Black Cats currently find themselves just one point adrift of Barnsley for the second automatic promotion place in League One and there is every chance that Ross might be in the Championship next season.

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It would be fair to say that Ross has emerged as the savior for Sunderland, taking charge at a time when the Black Cats had hit an all-time low in their history and transforming their fortunes.

He has rekindled hope at the club that was in a downward spiral just a season back and the Scotsman has proven that he is a manager with plenty of acumen and character who has all the parts to make it to the highest level.

While the West Brom fans might be divided in their opinion on hearing about Ross, a move to the Hawthorns would be a massive leap in the 42-year-old’s managerial career.

Ross had a mediocre playing career in Scotland but he rose to prominence as a manager at St.Mirren, guiding the club to a promotion-winning campaign in the Scottish Premiership in the 2017-18 season, which was considered by many to be a massive achievement.

Ross’s feat of charisma and intelligence earned him the 2017-18 PFA Scotland Manager of the Year award.

Well, Ross has excelled in the Scottish Championship and in the League One in England, but the main question is- Has he proven himself enough to take charge of a club that is challenging for promotion to the Premier League?

The gap between League One and Championship is quite big both in terms of quality and intensity and given that West Brom would eventually aim to challenge for promotion to the Premier League and survive in the top flight, looking at Ross as a long-term solution might be a risky proposition.

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However, it would be unfair to write him off completely as there have been instances of managers who have made the step up from the League One to the Championship and eventually to the Premier League, Bournemouth’s Eddie Howe being amongst those to have climbed up the pyramid in recent times.

Ross has shown plenty of promise very early in his managerial career and he certainly deserves a chance to prove himself at the highest level. Moreover, he knows how to get the best out of his players and his man management skills are also upto the mark.

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To conclude, it might be a bit of a gamble for West Brom to appoint Ross as the manager but it could bring with it a lot of rewards as well, considering that the Scotsman has done his reputation no harm at Sunderland.

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