West Bromwich Albion boss Roy Hodgson has urged patience ahead of Sunday’s highly anticipated derby with fellow strugglers Wolverhampton.
Wolves’ visit to The Hawthorns marks Hodgson’s first match in charge of the Baggies since replacing Roberto Di Matteo as manager, and shapes as a thrilling encounter as the West Midlands rivals scrap it out at the foot of the table.
But the former Liverpool and Fulham boss has refused to buy into the hype, cautioning West Brom fans not to expect miracles after a mere week in charge of the relegation-threatened club.
“It’s pretty obvious a week with the team is not ideal preparation,” Hodgson said.
“If you are really going to have an effect on the team you need an awful lot more than a week, you arguably need four or five months.”
“But I must say the players have been very good this week in the reception they have given me and they have certainly worked hard. They are a well organised group.”
“The players have been well managed in the past and I’m taking over a healthy club but unfortunately we’re in a relegation scrap.”
Hodgson watched from the stands as West Brom surrendered a three-goal lead to draw 3-3 with fellow battlers West Ham United last weekend.
That draw left the Baggies a precarious 17th on the league table, ahead of Wigan Athletic on goal difference alone.
Hodgson, who guided Fulham to safety on the last day of the 2007/08 season, believes the West Brom team he has inherited are good enough to beat the drop.
“I’ve seen enough to know it’s going to be an enjoyable time with the players because they want to work at their game and they’re anxious to stay in the league,” he said.
“It takes a long time to get to know players – I’m on a crash-course trying to get to know them.”
“But I can’t ask any more of the players in what they are giving in training and as a manager that’s all you can hope for.”