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Is a title challenge possible for Man Utd?

Manchester United
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Hodgson named Manager of the Year by fellow bosses

Fulham boss Roy Hodgson has been crowned Manager of the Year by the League Managers' Association (LMA), an award voted for by all the managers in the top four leagues in England.

• Fourm: Is Roy the right choice?

Hodgson has regularly received plaudits from his peers this season after guiding Fulham to a first ever European final, beating the likes of Juventus and Wolfsburg along the way.

And the former Inter Milan boss will lead the Cottagers into battle against Atletico Madrid this Wednesday in the inaugural Europa League final, looking to become the first English manager to lift a major European trophy since Bobby Robson won the Cup Winners' Cup with Barcelona in 1997.

LMA Chairman, Howard Wilkinson, said: "Since joining Fulham, Roy has transformed the club's fortunes. He initially saved them from the brink of relegation then took them to their highest ever league position last season. This year he has capitalised on that platform, achieving remarkable success in this season's Europa League.

"He is highly respected by the LMA members and also on an international level where he has worked his miracles in no fewer than seven countries. He is a great role model for all aspiring managers and coaches and is fully deserving of this recognition."

Hodgson was charged with saving Fulham from relegation when he first took the reins at Crave Cottage in December 2007, something he achieved in dramatic fashion with a victory over Portsmouth on the final day of the 2007-08 season to keep the Cottagers up on goal difference.

Since then he has built on a solid foundation, motivating a group of good, if not spectacular Premier League footballers to achieve well above their station in European competition.

Newcastle's Chris Hughton was named the Championship Manager of the Year for his efforts in taking the club back up at the first attempt, while Norwich's Paul Lambert and Rochdale's Keith Hill have been honoured for their exploits in League One and League Two respectively.

Steve McClaren, enjoying a career renaissance in Holland with FC Twente, was handed the LMA's special merit award, while there were also gongs for Arsenal director Ken Friar, who won the service to football award, and Ron Atkinson, who was inducted to the LMA's Hall of Fame.

Richard Bevan, Chief Executive of the LMA, said: "Tonight is a celebration of this season's managerial achievements throughout all four leagues at the highest level. To be voted for and acknowledged by your fellow members, peers and competitors is a great honour and the ultimate accolade is public recognition of success.

"The manager remains the most important man at a football club and to succeed in this profession requires extreme dedication and commitment. Roy received an overwhelming number of votes from the members and has won the LMA Manager of the Year Award sponsored by Barclays by the most significant margin in the history of the award.

"He is highly respected within the game and held in the highest regard in the family of football. He freely gives up his time to help other coaches and managers develop and hone their skills and talents, regularly contributing to the LMA's educational programmes.

"On behalf of the LMA, I wish Roy and the Fulham players the very best for this week's Europa League Cup Final in Hamburg. It will be a tremendous feat if they bring back the cup. I would also like to say a special thank you to all the members who have contributed to yet another fantastic season."

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