Football

West Bromwich Albion Vs Stoke City, Sun 28 Aug 2011

Hodgson keen to open account (©PAphotos)
Hodgson keen to open account (©PAphotos).

Roy Hodgson has urged West Brom to put aside early season frustration and repeat their performances against Manchester United and Chelsea in Sunday's home Barclays Premier League clash with Stoke.

The Baggies impressed against last season's champions and runners-up but were edged out in both encounters to leave them searching for their first points of the campaign.

Hodgson is looking to end that sequence against the Potters who secured a Europa League group spot in midweek with their win over Thun.

He said: "The programme hasn't been kind to us. It's never easy to get off the mark. There's no reason for me not to be proud of the players.

"But we have to live with the fact that we have no points, so there's some dissatisfaction and frustration.

"We have to keep producing the performances we have put in so far. We've got to get to 40 points."

Hodgson is paying no heed to Albion's nine-game run without a win against Stoke.

He said: It's a statistic that the club cannot be proud of, but it shows how well Stoke have done against West Brom

"I've only played them once as West Brom manager. That was last season when we drew 1-1 and came close to winning.

"I regard that as a positive thing. Statistics are there to be ripped up and it would be good to rip that one up."

Hodgson is looking for the partnership between Shane Long and Peter Odemwingie to flourish with the former having netted in the first two league games after his move from Reading.

Odemwingie, last season's leading scorer with 15 goals, is poised to make his first start of the campaign after recovering from an ankle problem.

Hodgson said: "I believe in Shane as a player. It's a great advantage when your debut goes well but we didn't sign him for the first two games.

"We signed him for maybe three or four years. Let's hope he can keep that going and continue to improve, but he has limited experience of the Premier League

"With Odemwingie, it's a partnership that excites fans and excites us.

"But Peter has spent a long period of time injured, so they haven't really worked together well so far."

Midfielder Zoltan Gera is the only player currently sidelined as he builds up his fitness after ankle surgery.

Stoke manager Tony Pulis believes West Brom will continue on an upward trend with Hodgson at the helm this season.

The Baggies were hovering above the Barclays Premier League relegation zone in February when they decided to sack boss Roberto Di Matteo and replace him with Hodgson, who had himself been dismissed by Liverpool only a few weeks earlier.

"Roy is an experienced person who I have great respect for," said Pulis.

"I think the Liverpool experience will only have made him stronger and more determined as a person.

"Even though Roy is in his 60s now, he still has that desire to be successful, and I think he has picked a good football club.

"West Bromwich Albion is run along very similar lines to ourselves in lots of respects. He will have a tight budget there and he will have to work very hard.

"But he did very well at the back end of last year and looking at them, they look stronger this year.

"I think he has made some good signings and they have got some good players there.

"The thing Roy will do is put a playing structure in place that everybody understands and they will be very, very difficult to beat."

Robert Huth and Matthew Etherington are back in the Stoke squad for the encounter having both missed the Europa League play-off victory against FC Thun on Thursday due to suspension.

Pulis withdrew Jermaine Pennant in the second half of that match as a precaution and hopes the winger will be fit to face the Baggies, while Rory Delap is also being assessed having been sidelined recently with a hamstring problem.

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Topics:
Jermaine Pennant
West Bromwich Albion
Football
Robert Huth
Premier League
Matthew Etherington
Rory Delap
Roberto Di Matteo
Shane Long
Zoltan Gera
Peter Odemwingie

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