Uphill Gardner battle for Hodgson
NEWCASTLE v WEST BROM Tonight – 7.45pm
ROY HODGSON is set to scrap with bitter rivals Wolves in a battle to sign Craig Gardner.
West Brom manager Hodgson has launched a bid to bring Sunderland midfielder Gardner back to the West Midlands.
The former Villa and Birmingham star has failed to settle on Wearside and will be sacrificed by O’neill to raise funds.
Hodgson would ideally like the 25-year-old on loan but could make the move permanent if O’neill makes him available for around £2million.
West Brom are keen to bring in an extra midfielder after losing Zoltan Gera for the rest of the season with a knee injury.
Hodgson said: “If there are players out there that would help us get more points in the second half of the season then we’d be very happy to take them.
“I believe this group of players is good enough to be in this league when it kicks off in August.”
Newcastle boss Alan Pardew is desperate to make West Brom pay for ruining his summer.
The Baggies will arrive on Tyneside to revisit the scene of a remarkable fightback on the final day of last season.
With both promoted teams already comfortably safe, the Magpies raced into a 3-0 lead by halftime and were odds-on to claim a creditable 10thplace finish.
However, to Pardew’s horror, Somen Tchoyi plundered a second-half hat-trick to snatch an unlikely draw.
That point not only forced Newcastle down into 12th place, but allowed arch rivals Sunderland to leapfrog them into the top 10.
Pardew said: “It was a shame, and it came on the last day of the season as well. I had to suffer that on my holidays.
“We switched off, and although West Brom didn’t have anything to play for but their pride, their natural instincts got them the three goals and it cost us three positions in the league.”