West Bromwich Albion are drawing up a shortlist of candidates to replace Steve Clarke as head coach with Mike Phelan, the former Manchester United assistant manager, among the names on it.

Clarke is on gardening leave until the end of the season following Saturday's loss at Cardiff, their fourth successive defeat. Jeremy Peace, the chairman, and Richard Garlick, the sporting and technical director, told Clarke he had lost his job when he returned to the club's training ground after the return from Cardiff.

Albion are keen to make an appointment before the busy festive period and have made it clear that Clarke's replacement will have to work within the continental management structure, so coaching ability is vital.

Phelan, who lost his job at United when David Moyes took over as manager in the summer, would be available immediately. Michael Appleton, who Peace regarded highly when the 38-year-old was on the coaching staff at The Hawthorns, is also an option. Appleton has been out of work since his dismissal from Blackburn Rovers in March.

Paul Clement, the assistant coach at Real Madrid, would fit the profile that Albion are after but there are doubts about whether the Londoner, who has ambitions to manage one day, would leave Spain. Martin Jol has been linked with the post but it is possible that after being sacked by Fulham this month he would welcome a short break from the game. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has not signed an extension to his contract with Molde, which runs out in the summer, but it would be no easy task convincing the former Manchester United striker to leave Norway.