Hangeland warns Fulham over Hodgson's return


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The Independent Football

The Fulham defender Brede Hangeland knows what to expect when Roy Hodgson's West Bromwich Albion visit Craven Cottage tonight. The 30-year-old Norway international moved to west London from Copenhagen in 2008 to link up with the Cottagers, who were then under the management of Hodgson.

During his time at the helm, Hodgson helped transform Fulham from a side battling relegation to one fighting to be in the Premier League top 10 as well as one which reached the 2010 Europa League final. Hodgson eventually left for Liverpool and now West Brom.

"We know exactly what to expect from West Brom," Hangeland said. "It will be much the same as we played a couple of years ago and we all know how difficult that will be to break down. They will be a strong unit and well-organised so we're in for a tough game but obviously we would like to keep our home form going and win the game."

Hodgson will see a number of familiar faces at Craven Cottage, including in-form Clint Dempsey. The Texan midfielder was recently named the United States' player of the year and netted two hat-tricks last month.

"I think he is such a good player and he works really hard every day in training," Hangeland said of Dempsey. "He has that mentality to never give up on any ball and to always try to score a goal.

"He is just such an important player for us. He has scored loads of goals for us this season and I am really happy for him. He deserves all the credit he has been getting lately."

While quick to praise the United States international's performances of later, Hangeland was keen to highlight the club's team spirit for their recent turn in form. "One of the best things about [our] football [club] is that we always try and let people understand it is a team effort," he added. "We have nobody that stands out as star players as such, it is always a team effort. Whatever we do well is because we pull in the same direction."

Hodgson, meanwhile, is to take no disciplinary action against acting captain James Morrison. Morrison hit out at Albion's shortage of transfer activity after Saturday's FA Cup defeat at home to Norwich and claimed the Baggies were happy "to just settle for being in the Premier League".

But Hodgson has excused Morrison's comments as those of someone frustrated and hurt at Albion's fourth-round exit. Hodgson said: "After a game when you are hurting, and someone asks you an inflammatory question, you may not answer in the diplomatic way you would do so in the cold light of day.

"It was a statement made in disappointment and there is no disciplinary issue here. But this club is ambitious. It's still trying to establish itself in the Premier League for years and years to come.

"It has got to be done in the way the club is doing it, building slowly, by getting a stronger squad every year. We are not going to go about it in the same way as, for example, QPR who have had new owners, a new coach, and loads of money. But when I signed for the club, I knew it was not going to be that way."