Up­hill Gard­ner bat­tle for Hodg­son

NEW­CAS­TLE v WEST BROM Tonight – 7.45pm

Midweek Sport - - SPORT -

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.

Hor­ror

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.”

TAR­GET: Gard­ner

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