Hodgson - Gera was in demand

Midfielder was keen to play under former boss

By Hayley Paterson.   Last Updated: 03/09/11 8:30pm

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Roy Hodgson has revealed he had to fight hard to bring Zoltan Gera back to West Bromwich Albion.

The Hungary international is due to make his second debut for The Baggies having returned to the Hawthorns from Fulham during the transfer window.

The 32-year-old previously worked with Hodgson for two years when he was the Cottagers manager and he believes the midfielder will bring "big things" to his new club after fighting hard to clinch his signature.

"The change of management at Fulham almost spoiled things for us in the sense that they made it very clear when the new manager (Martin Jol) came in, and Ray Lewington got promoted once again to first-team coach, that they really wanted to keep him," Hodgson told the club's official website.

"Luckily, he still wanted to come and join us, so it was a big signing.

Big things

"Zoltan is one of the big signings of this transfer window for me and I expect big things from him.

"It was never close to not happening because he'd made up his mind he wanted to come here and work with me again.

"But he had to listen to plenty of overtures to try to get him to change his mind."

Hodgson, who was heavily linked with a move for free agent Owen Hargreaves, said Gera's arrival will increase the competition for places in their hotly-contested midfield at Craven Cottage.

"It will be a great advantage having him available," he said.

"I suppose the Owen Hargreaves publicity, and the suggestion that he may have joined us, to some extent pushed the thoughts of Zoltan out of the window.

Very useful

"So it's quite nice that we are starting to discuss Zoltan because he's a player for the central or wide midfield areas who will be very, very useful for us.

"He did ever so well at Fulham.

"He became every bit as much a favourite with the fans there as he was during his first spell here.

"Zoltan will produce extra competition in an area that I must say is already very, very strong because we also in effect have a new player in Graham Dorrans this year.

"He played very little part in my time at the club last season because he was injured."

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