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Baggies sizing up Hodgson replacement

West Brom will start their search for head coach Roy Hodgson's successor with chairman Jeremy Peace admitting he will be ''a hard act to follow''.

Hodgson has ended his 15-month spell in charge at the Hawthorns to become England's new head coach in succession to Fabio Capello with a four-year contract confirmed on Tuesday.

The 64-year-old will remain in charge of the Baggies for the final two Premier League matches of the campaign - away to Bolton on Sunday and home to Arsenal on May 13. But Peace is already turning his attention to finding a replacement for the former Liverpool boss who has guided Albion into the top 10 this season.

Peace said: ''The board will now concentrate on the important task of appointing a new head coach to continue our project as we prepare for a third successive season in the Barclays Premier League. We did not want Roy to leave and he will be a tough act to follow.

''But I want to reassure our supporters that we will do everything possible to identify and appoint the right head coach for this football club.''

Birmingham boss Chris Hughton is believed to amongst the potential candidates being viewed by Albion. Hughton was a free agent after leaving Newcastle and close to being appointed before Hodgson became available after leaving Anfield.

Peace admitted: ''We would have liked Roy to sign a new contract, which was in the process of negotiation, and remain as our head coach. But we understand Roy's desire to take the England job and he will leave us after the Arsenal game on May 13 with our best wishes.

''Of course, with Euro 2012 around the corner, we appreciate that some of Roy's focus over the next 12 days will be on England matters. But we are delighted he will be seeing the season out with us.

''With the help of the coaching staff, he will prepare the team in his usual, meticulous manner as we finish what has already been a successful season.''

Hodgson took charge with Albion in the middle of a relegation battle in February 2012 and they finished 11th after losing only two of their final 12 matches.

They have consolidated their position during the current campaign after recovering from losing the opening three matches.

Albion launched official talks with Hodgson's advisors over a new contract earlier this month with his current deal running out this summer. But that scenario altered after the FA sought permission to speak to Hodgson over the weekend.

Peace said: ''I would also like to thank the FA chairman, David Bernstein, for the sensitive and professional manner in which he has liaised with me in bringing about Roy's appointment.

''Everyone here would like to wish Roy, the FA and England all the best for Euro 2012 and beyond.''

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