Poyet in frame for Blues move

BRIGHTON AND HOVE ALBION chairman Tony Bloom has paved the way for manager Gus Poyet to make a return to Stamford Bridge as Carlo Ancelotti’s No2 after Ray Wilkins’ sudden departure from Stamford Bridge yesterday.

Wilkins, whom Ancelotti credited in his recent autobiography with playing a significant role in last season’s Double winning campaign, left with immediate effect after the club opted not to renew his contract.

Chelsea chief executive Ron Gourlay followed up with a brief tribute to the former club captain, adding: “On behalf of everyone at the club I would like to thank Ray for everything he has done for Chelsea Football Club.

“We all wish him well for the future.”

Fellow former Chelsea midfielder Poyet, who won three major honours during the course of a four-year stint in west London, is among the early front-runners to succeed Wilkins.

The 42-year-old has just celebrated a year in charge of League One club Brighton, with the team sitting pretty, eight points clear of second place Huddersfield.

Poyet signed a new four-year contract in the summer but could find the lure of returning to the venue at which he enjoyed the best years of his playing career irresistible – a fact Bloom is all too aware of.

“If things outside of our control happen and a big club in the Premier League club comes in for him and he wants to move we are not going to stand in his way,” said Bloom.

“But we are just focused on working with him for the long-term.

“That is also what he is concentrating on.”