Hodgson shocked at speedy return
Hodgson has joined the Baggies on an 18-month contract until the summer of 2012 as successor to Roberto Di Matteo. He will watch Saturday's home game with West Ham with first-team coach Michael Appleton taking charge. Hodgson will be at the helm for the first time for the derby clash with Wolves at The Hawthorns next weekend. He said: "It was not my intention to return to Premier League football this quickly. "But I was so impressed by the way the chairman (Jeremy Peace) and the sporting and technical director (Dan Ashworth) sold the project to me that I was very happy to accept the offer. "I am delighted that a club of West Bromwich Albion's stature has given me the opportunity to help them in their quest to retain their Premier League status and to build for the future. "I hear that Michael has done a terrific job looking after the players this week and preparing them for tomorrow's game. "I know from my previous visits to The Hawthorns the kind of atmosphere the fans can generate and I am sure they will get right behind Michael and the team." Peace insisted Hodgson was always Albion's first choice. He said: "At such a vital stage of the season, we felt it was important we identified and appointed the right man as quickly as possible. "Roy emerged as the outstanding and unanimous choice of the football club board and we are delighted to have appointed our number one target. "We believe his vast experience and knowledge of the game is exactly what we need for the challenge we face, both in the short and long term. "However, as Roy has stated, the club's immediate focus is offering Michael, Keith Downing, Dean Kiely (club coaches) and the players all the support they need as they prepare to face West Ham. "We're very grateful for the way Michael has taken over the reins this week. He has fully justified our faith in him."