Wolves at door in Roy's first game
Hodgson will have a watching brief for Saturday's Premier League relegation battle with West Ham at The Hawthorns after signing an 18-month deal. He will officially take charge after the weekend for the clash against Mick McCarthy's side on Sunday, February 20. First-team coach Michael Appleton will remain in charge in a caretaker role against the Hammers, with Hodgson to be officially unveiled to the media at a press conference early next week. Albion are adamant that Hodgson was always their number one choice to replace Di Matteo, who was relieved of his duties last Sunday. There had been strong speculation that former Newcastle boss Chris Hughton was a leading contender. The 63-year-old Hodgson has made a quickfire return to football after his short spell at Liverpool was ended last month. Hodgson will have no problem working with West Brom's technical director, Dan Ashworth. He has been used to having someone alongside him in similar roles before in his career - including Inter Milan - and does not see it as a threat or an obstacle. Albion are mindful of the job Hodgson did in reviving Fulham's fortunes three years ago when they looked doomed to relegation. Hodgson was voted manager of the year by the League Managers Association last season after guiding Fulham to the Europa League final. Hodgson's close friend and current Aston Villa boss, Gerard Houllier, is glad to see the ex-Switzerland coach back in football. He said: "Roberto did a good job and it was a bit of a kneejerk reaction (to sack him) but it is an opportunity for Roy to come back. "He has been a friend for years. Sometimes the unhappiness of the one (Di Matteo) will make the happiness of the other (Hodgson). That is football. "I'm sure Roy also appreciated the work done by Roberto. I thought they (West Brom) would have given the job maybe to the caretaker manager at the moment. But they decided otherwise and I am pleased to see Roy back."