By Jemma Tappenden
March 11 2012
West Bromwich Albion gaffer Roy Hodgson has challenged the board at the club to convice him to stay, after talk and rumour of him being linked with the vacant England managers job spread this week. Albion's recent run of form, which has seen them secure three back to back league wins, losing just one in the last six games, has seen them jump to 12th in the table.
In fact, last weekend after the 1-0 victory over Chelsea at the Hawthorns - a game which not only saw Albion take all three points, but one in which they dominated for large periods of play, Albion sat high in 10th place in the Premiership table. A stark contrast to the start of the season where they had won just one in seven games.
The seemingly poor start had left many Albion fans questioning whether Hodgson was indeed the right man for the job, even after he had prevented what at one stage seemed like possible relegation in the previous season. But fans are in no doubt this week that he is the right man to take The Baggies forward, a call which was echoed by midfield favourite Chris Brunt, who urged the board to splash the cash and secure his long term services as manager.
But Hodgson, who is seemingly very flattered with talk connecting him with the vacant England position, and who admitted this week that it was a possibility, will not sign a new deal at the Hawthorns unless he is given certain assurances.
Make no mistake, Hodgson is happy to tell the footballing world that he is enjoying his time at West Brom very much, and he said this week that he has a lot of time for both the club and the players. But the gaffer wants assurances that the club will not be fighting relegation battles every season before he even contemplates putting pen to paper over a new deal.
Hodgson looks set to delay new contract talks until his side are mathematically safe - having set the elusive 40 point mark as his goal. In fact, the situation at the bottom, in which 5 sides; Wigan, Wolves, QPR, Blackburn and Bolton look set to scrap it out to avoid the bottom three places, almost certainly means that West Brom are safe already. But Hodgson is taking nothing for granted, and insists the pressure of being a manager at the bottom of the table is far worse that than the pressure at the top.