Peace: Hodgson was first choice

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West Brom chairman Jeremy Peace insists new head coach Roy Hodgson was always the number one target to replace Roberto Di Matteo.

Hodgson, who was axed by Liverpool last month, has committed himself to the Baggies until the summer of 2012. He will have a watching brief for their home clash with West Ham before taking charge for the derby with Wolves at The Hawthorns on Sunday week.

Peace said: "Roy emerged as the outstanding and unanimous choice of the football club board and we are delighted to have appointed our number one target."

The Baggies chairman will be hoping Hodgson can halt West Brom's slide towards the Barclays Premier League relegation zone after a promising start to the campaign.

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."

"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."

Hodgson admits he never intended to return to management so soon after the end of his short spell at Anfield.

He said: "It was not my intention to return to Barclays Premier League football this quickly. But I was so impressed by the way the chairman (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."

First-team coach Michael Appleton will remain in charge as caretaker boss against the Hammers. Hodgson will be officially unveiled to the media at a conference early next week.

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West Bromwich Albion
Premier League
Roberto Di Matteo
West Ham United
Wolverhampton Wanderers

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