Appleton eyeing Baggies chance
At 35, Appleton is the youngest man ever to be put in charge of a Premier League team - he has taken charge on a caretaker basis - and he believes he has the personality and ability to make the most of the chance he has been given. Hughton has been strongly linked with the Hawthorns vacancy, with reports on Thursday morning suggesting his appointment was imminent. But before Appleton's press conference at West Brom's training ground, a club spokesman issued a short statement refuting these claims. It read: "Contrary to widespread reports in today's media, I can categorically state that no decision has yet been made by the football club regarding the appointment of a new head coach." Appleton therefore appears to remain firmly in contention for the post. "I've never hidden the fact that I want to be a manager," said Appleton, whose playing career was cut short by a knee injury. "I've gone out and taken all of the badges that are necessary to take that step. "I think my personality and the strengths I bring to football clubs, eventually that was always going to be the step. "Now I find myself in a position where I'm taking over the side for the foreseeable future until I'm told differently, and I'm going to try to grasp the opportunity." The former West Brom midfielder, who has taken over the side after previous head coach Roberto Di Matteo was placed on gardening leave, is aware his team's match against West Ham on Saturday will be seen as an audition by many people inside and outside of the club. "Obviously people are going to see it like that," Appleton said. "It's an opportunity in terms of me taking my first game. "It's crucial we get three points, it's a huge game. "If I was lucky enough to get three points and the players were good enough, then beyond that, you never know. "The only thing I can control is what we do with the players this week, make sure that they're prepared properly for the game, make sure they know everything they need to know about West Ham and how we can beat them. "If we can get a result off the back of that, who knows?" Appleton added that he has been impressed with the level of support shown for him by the players. "I've been taken aback a little bit," he said. "They've been absolutely fantastic. "It was important that the first thing I did was ring them all up. "There's a lot of lads that I've only seen for the first time today because they've been on international duty, and I just wanted to reassure them really. "There's not going to be massive changes, but different people have different subtle changes and ideas that they want to bring in. "They embraced that right from day one, and the boys came off the training pitch today with a smile on their faces, which is important under the circumstances."