Michael Appleton is poised to become Blackburn Rovers' third manager of the season providing Venky's, the club's owner, accepts the recommendation of the managing director, Derek Shaw.
Rovers have been granted permission to hold talks with the Blackpool manager and his first-team coach, Ashley Westwood, following an official approach to their Championship rivals on Wednesday evening. Appleton, who replaced Ian Holloway at Blackpool only on 7 November, did not take training at Blackpool as he and Westwood discussed the terms of their anticipated departure with the chairman, Karl Oyston.
Blackburn have met Blackpool's compensation demands to install the 37-year-old as successor to Henning Berg, who was sacked after 57 days as Rovers manager, along with the club's backroom staff. A Blackpool statement announced: "Blackpool FC can confirm that, following discussions with Blackburn Rovers and Michael Appleton, permission has been granted for the manager and Ashley Westwood to discuss personal terms with the club."
Blackburn said in a statement that the talks would take place on Friday.
Although the former Portsmouth manager is the only candidate that Blackburn have approached and could be in charge before Rovers' trip to Wolverhampton Wanderers on Friday, the appointment has still to receive the seal of approval from the club's owners in India. The executive structure at Blackburn has been divided since Berg was sacked after 10 matches, with Shaw and the general manager, Paul Agnew, at odds with the global adviser, Shebby Singh, over the direction Rovers should take.
Shaw, who was a director at Preston North End when Appleton played for the club, flew to India to express concerns at Singh's influence in the aftermath of Berg's departure. It is understood that Singh has played no part in the approach to Appleton and would prefer a more experienced manager. Appleton has won two and drawn seven of his 11 Championship games at Bloomfield Road but has been frustrated by the lack of transfer activity this month. Blackpool are currently 14th in the Championship, one point and one place behind his prospective employers Blackburn.
It was only last week that Venky's announced the caretaker management team of Gary Bowyer and Terry McPhillips would remain in charge until the end of January. The reserve team manager, Bowyer, and head of youth, McPhillips, have guided the team to three consecutive victories since taking over from Berg, who replaced Steve Kean after an exhaustive search by the Blackburn hierarchy. The pair are likely to be in charge at Molineux, although Appleton will be present should Venky's confirm his appointment.
Bowyer said on Thursday: "We expect to be taking the team at Wolves. As far as we're aware we were told we had it until the end of January but, like I stressed last week when that announcement was made, we understand that anything can happen in that month. That seems to be what's happened at the moment. The club have made an approach and it's an official approach.
"To be perfectly honest, it's nothing to do with me. It's a board matter. I think it would be wrong of me to comment on a manager at another football club. Until we're told otherwise we'll continue to do what we've done and that's prepare the players for the game. I was notified last night and told that the official approach had been made, like I have been with everything that's gone on in our time here."