Chris Hughton is long odds-on to be appointed West Brom’s next manager but the Baggies have been warned Birmingham will fight any approach for their boss.
As short as 1/5 for the Hawthorns job but still available at 4/9 with Bet365
, Hughton has been the leading contender to replace Roy Hodgson since the England manager departed the club.
He was interviewed for the job 15 months ago but lost out to Hodgson.
However, at that time Hughton was a free agent after being sacked by Newcastle two months earlier and Birmingham are keen to retain his services.
A source close to Birmingham City said: “Chris is very highly rated at Birmingham and has done a great job since taking over.
“The Blues are planning for next season, they want Chris to be part of those plans and any approach would not be welcome.”
Birmingham are anxious to avoid a repeat of last summer when manager Alex McLeish resigned and joined local rivals Aston Villa.
That resulted in a lengthy compensation battle and if City do lose Hughton, they will expect to be fully recompensed in a similar manner.
Hughton signed a 12-month rolling contract when succeeding McLeish.
He led Birmingham to the npower Championship play-off semi-finals before losing out to Blackpool in a season that spanned more than 60 games due to Europa League involvement, despite losing most of the squad that won the Carling Cup in 2011.
Lee Clark is the 8/1 second favourite with Bet365 for the West Brom job with former Baggies coach and current Portsmouth manager Michael Appleton at 14/1.