Belfast Telegraph

Hodgson wants assistants to stay at WBA

Roy Hodgson hopes his West Brom colleagues Keith Downing and Dean Kiely will have a role to play under his successor as manager at the Hawthorns.

New England boss Hodgson, who remains in charge of West Brom until the end of the season, has taken time out to thank the Midlands media for their "fair" treatment of him during his 15 months with the Baggies. And Hodgson also indicated he hopes assistant manager Downing and goalkeeping coach Kiely will remain at the club.

He said: "I can only hope the club goes on to even greater success in the future. I hope the people who have worked with me, and were loyal to me and [Hodgson's predecessor] Roberto Di Matteo before that, will be part of this club in the future."

Hodgson also thanked chairman Jeremy Peace for allowing him to combine his two managerial roles during the past fortnight.

He said: "The club have been very good in allowing me to devote time to the England set-up, albeit that I've still done training sessions here at Albion and prepared the games."

The Baggies will surpass their best ever points tally in the Barclays Premier League - 47 - by avoiding defeat in their final game of the season against Arsenal on Sunday.

Hodgson's number two Downing conducted Friday's press conference to preview Sunday's home encounter with the Gunners, but the departing manager did take time to praise his treatment from the media during his time at the Hawthorns.

He said: "I'd like to say a couple of words before I leave. I've not done the press conferences recently because it is difficult to juggle two balls in that sense. I also think that would have detracted a bit from West Brom and would have been more focused on myself.

"It would not have been particularly sensible to keep batting off loads and loads of questions about England when the press conference has got nothing to do with England. But I just want to thank you all for the way you've been fair and so very correct with me all the time I've been at the club."

Ahead of Sunday's game - where a win would guarantee the hosts a top-half finish - Baggies striker Peter Odemwingie has recovered from a hamstring problem. However, winger Jerome Thomas is unlikely to have recovered from a virus while captain Chris Brunt will be absent after having his tonsils removed this week.

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