Belfast Telegraph

Hodgson ready for derby tussle

Roy Hodgson has challenged his West Brom players to bury the memory of their last Black Country derby experience in Sunday's home clash with Wolves.

Hodgson performed a minor miracle last season in helping to keep the Baggies in the top flight with 20 points from their final 12 games. But one of their two defeats was via a dismal 3-1 setback against Wolves at Molineux - a result which went a significant way to ensuring Mick McCarthy's side stayed up as well.

Albion have also struggled to repeat last season's form during the current campaign and only remain out of the bottom three on goal difference. But Hodgson said: "The players performed excellently for most of the time after I came into the club but we were poor that day at Molineux."

He added: "There haven't been many games where we have put in a performance which was totally disappointing or we've found hard to accept or come to terms with.

"The one at Molineux would certainly be a good example and there have been a couple recently where we could have done better. The players would be the first to tell you the game at Molineux was far from what we should have been doing.

"That's part of the battle in some ways because at least, when people know, then you have at least got a chance to put it right and, as a coach, it means you are often preaching to the converted."

Hodgson is aware of the increased importance of Sunday's game given the fact Wolves are lying 14th and Albion 17th in the table going into the weekend fixtures. He said: "I've got a feel for the rivalry. It is fierce and, for both teams, it's a big game because we are both at the wrong end of the table.

"They started like a house on fire but have since had major setbacks. We started with three defeats but have since taken five points from four games.

"It's two teams who need a result and two teams who will be going hell for leather to get that result. I don't think either team will let their fans down.

"It's our second season in the Premier League, their third, and is vitally important for both clubs to stop in this division. We believe we have the wherewithal to win the game. We know how much it will mean to our fans."

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