RH eyes Midlands mini-league

BY foxsports • May 21, 2011

The Baggies have not finished above all their midlands rivals for 32 years but lead the way heading into Sunday's final round of the Premier League fixtures. Albion are 11th and could finish as high as eighth if results go in their favour, a remarkable position for a team in relegation trouble when Hodgson took over in February. Hodgson told the club's website: "We are less motivated by the thought that the players or the club, in terms of bonuses, might earn a little more money. "We are motivated more by the fact we can finish in the highest possible league position and, in particular, finish above our midland rivals and be top dog in the midlands for the first time in many years." Aston Villa, who are just a point behind, are the only club from the region who can now overtake them. But Hodgson, whose side travel to Newcastle, does not believe he can expect a favour from Villa's opponents, his former club Liverpool. He added: "I think we need a result because Aston Villa are perfectly capable of getting a result in their home game. We can't rely on them losing. "If they were to take a point and we lose they would pip us on goal difference, which would be disappointing. "It is important we go up to Newcastle and try to get the win we need which would mean we are untouchable in our position. "That is what we are trying for." Hodgson's side have lost just twice in his 11 games in charge. They will be without top scorer Peter Odemwingie tomorrow because of an ankle injury. Hodgson also believes the 29-year-old, who has scored 15 goals this season, needs a rest. He said: "Peter Odemwingie won't play in this game for a variety of reasons. "I don't know which is the most important to be perfectly honest. "He's got an ankle problem we've been nursing him through. "Equally important is that he's played a year-and-a-half's football without having the chance to get a break and in particular get the chance to go back and see his mother in Moscow. "Thirdly, he has got matches coming up for Nigeria quite a long way into June." Defender Gabriel Tamas will also be left out due to a knock.

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