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Wolves’ search for new sporting director put on hold

Wolves’ search for a sporting director has been put on hold because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The club are seeking a replacement for Kevin Thelwell, who joined Major League outfit New York Red Bulls in February.

But it’s understood the process for Thelwell’s successor has been placed into cold storage because of the worldwide shutdown and will not re-commence until normality resumes.

The club had started to speak to possible candidates, through a recruitment company, before the outbreak which has caused all elite football to be postponed until at least April 30.

Wolves have also been working without a managing director since Laurie Dalrymple left last July. Thelwell moved to New York after more than 11 years at Molineux, while Dalrymple, who was at the club for four and a half years, was appointed chief executive of Premiership rugby club Harlequins in November.

Their responsibilities have largely been taken on by chairman Jeff Shi, assisted by head of marketing Russell Jones and Matt Wild, head of football administration.

Shi is still likely to retain some of them once the new person is appointed, depending on when the coronavirus outbreak allows the club to return to normal.

Wolves also lost long-serving head of medical Phil Hayward, who joined Los Angeles Galaxy in February after 11 and a half years at Molineux. His duties have been taken on by club doctor Dr Matt Perry until at least the summer.

It’s understood the club has no current plans to furlough staff, unlike Premier League rivals Newcastle who have placed members of their non-playing staff on leave as they attempt to protect the club from the long-term effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

Owners Fosun have already donated thousands of pieces of equipment to health teams in Wolverhampton.

Some 2,300 items of personal protective clothing (PPE), consisting of face masks and coveralls, were sent to New Cross Hospital and public health teams in the city while a donation of 12 tonnes of medical supplies arrived in Portugal earlier this week.

Fosun chairman Guo Guangchang tweeted: “The chartered flight carrying over 12 tons of medical supplies just arrived at Lisbon!

“It brings Fosun’s support and also a sincere gratitude for the timely assistance from Portuguese people 2 months ago. Força Portugal! #portugal #WeAreOne”