What wouldn't Wolverhampton Wanderers give for an Adrian Boothroyd right now?

Tomorrow evening at Molineux, the mathematical certainty of Wolves' failure to win promotion could finally be confirmed by a Watford side who, under the highly-rated Boothroyd, have already made the Championship play-offs. And that will just rub salt in the wound as far as this expected latest Wolves' promotion failure is concerned.

That Watford stand 13 points clear of Glenn Hoddle's Wolves is a remarkable achievement, considering the relative stature of the two clubs a year ago.

Having been named the surprise successor to the the sacked Ray Lewington on March 29, former West Bromwich Albion Academy director and Leeds United coach Boothroyd endured a disastrous start to football management.

Watford lost their first three games under him to slip to 21st in the table. And he was saved from the drop only by a run of goals from Heidar Helguson that won seven points out of nine.

Boothroyd was then to lose Helguson to Fulham in the summer for £1.3 million.

But, on the proceeds, Boothroyd has rebuilt his Watford team, bringing in the likes of Clarke Carlisle (£100,000), Jordan Stewart (£125,000), Matthew Spring (£150,000), Darius Henderson (£450,000) and the Championship's 20-goal top scorer Marlon King (£500,000).

All for less than the £1.4 million Wolves paid in January for Tomasz Frankowski, their Pole without a goal. And the kind of low-budget job they will be looking for when they reassess the finances at Molineux next season.

But, while the Molineux board are probably already well aware that Boothroyd has kept his family home on the fringe of the Black Country, those who know him best would suggest he already appears capable of one day doing a lot better for himself than Wolves.

Albion's current academy manager, Dan Ashworth, was brought to the club by Boothroyd, having first been colleagues together at Peterborough United.

When Boothroyd moved to Leeds in the summer of 2004, he inherited his job. They still speak regularly. And Ashworth has no doubts that Boothroyd, often portrayed as a modern-day Graham Taylor, has the credentials to also get to the very top in English football.

"It's no surprise to me he's been a success," said Ashworth.

"Respect is earned. And any players who sees what Adie is capable of on the training pitch and his exceptional man management skills is bound to respect him.

"That spell he had at Leeds under Kevin Blackwell would really have helped give him an insight into first team players and he's taken it on at Watford.

"The start he had in management would have been a real test of character.

Watford were on the slide and looked like they were going down and his remit was simply to keep them up.

"All managers will tell you it's difficult with someone else's players. And Adie was just desperate to survive to the end of the season, then get his ideas across on the training pitch.

"But he's always been very confident in what he wants to do. And I've not often seen him ruffled.

"He's very single-minded about how he wants to play and what players he wants, but he's also very open minded, into new ideas and other people's opinions. Most importantly, he will listen to people and, if he doesn't agree, he will give a reason why.

"He's a terrific coach, very good in assessing what is needed to win matches. But his chief skill is realising what triggers people, what makes them tick.

"And I can understand the comparison with Graham Taylor as I'm sure Adie is capable of doing that at any level, even the very highest one."