Appleton relishing Albion chance
The 35-year-old stepped in following the sackings on Sunday of manager Roberto Di Matteo and assistants Eddie Newton and Ade Mafe. Appleton, who is set to take charge of the side for the first time in Saturday's crunch home meeting with West Ham, has been at the club for a decade having initially moved to The Hawthorns as a player in 2001. The midfielder was a first-team regular until he suffered a serious knee injury the following season that eventually forced him into retirement at the age of 27. Appleton later successfully sued the surgeon who operated on him and channelled his frustration into his coaching career. Having worked with the academy and reserve sides at West Brom, Appleton was appointed first-team coach in 2009, and he cannot wait for his first taste of Premier League management. He told Albion Player: "It's going to be fantastic. The circumstances behind it I would have liked to be a little bit different but it will be a proud moment for me. "I had to lose my career at what I thought was a young age. Since that day happened I've only ever wanted to be a manager. I didn't expect it to be this way or maybe this soon at this level but it doesn't faze me." Di Matteo's removal came as a shock to most in football and Appleton was no exception. The new man was, though, pleased to receive backing from his former boss. He said: "I received a call from the club on Sunday to explain what had happened. It was disappointing because I was part of a group of staff that were hopefully going to keep the team in the Premier League. "I contacted Robbie, Eddie and Ade straight away and they were philosophical about it, obviously disappointed but they said a job has to be done and they couldn't think of anyone else in the meantime to look after the team." Appleton did not want to be drawn on the possibility of taking the position full-time, adding: "The chairman and the board will decide on those things. "Ultimately, I want to win the game, the players want to win the game and it's my job to make sure that I prepare them so we can get three points. Who knows after that?" Appleton, who will be assisted by youth-team coach Keith Downing and goalkeeping coach Dean Kiely, could hardly be faced with a bigger match as the Baggies bid to turn around their poor form. After seven defeats from their last nine Premier League matches, West Brom know they will drop into the relegation zone if they lose to West Ham on Saturday. Appleton urged the fans to get behind him, saying: "Everybody knows that the three points are crucial. It would set up whoever wins for the closing stages of the season. "With it being a home game, I want to get the place rocking on Saturday, and the more fans we have concentrating on positive issues rather than negative ones, the better." Appleton is not planning to make wholesale changes and is confident the players will have recovered from the loss of Di Matteo. He added: "We've had the players in today and they've responded really well. I will bring my own little stamp onto it. There'll be little subtle changes but Rome wasn't built in a day and I don't want to rebuild it over four or five days."