Crystal Palace

Baggies Boss Hodgson Eyes Double Championship Swoop

West Bromwich Albion manager Roy Hodgson is reportedly lining up a double Championship swoop for Cardiff City’s Peter Whittingham and Bristol City’s Nicky Maynard according to The Sun.

WBA have recently announced record profits of more than £9million for the financial year ending June 30 2011. The Baggies made £8.2 million from transfer sales whilst outlaying £5.2million on new signings. Despite their wage bill increasing by £11million, the club’s eleventh place finish enabled them to reduce their net debt from £11million to £2million.

Signing a brace of Championship players would fit in with the club’s overall transfer strategy with their most recent in-comings including Shane Long from Reading, Marton Fulop from Ipswich, Ben Foster on loan from Birmingham, Billy Jones from relegated Preston and Gareth McAuley from Ipswich.

Yet Cardiff will be loath to part with versatile midfielder/striker Whittingham who has an impressive goals-to-games ratio of one in four for the Welsh club.

Manager Malky Mackay was quoted during the summer as saying that Whittingham was “central to his plans” but speculation about his future has continued to grow with Cardiff turning down a reported £3million bid by West Ham at the end of December 2011.

With Cardiff’s 3-2 victory over Portsmouth on Saturday consolidating them in third place in the Championship and Tuesday’s Carling Cup Semi Final second leg against Crystal Palace to come, it would be extremely surprising if Cardiff allowed Whittingham to leave during the January transfer window.

A move for Maynard is a far more likely prospect as City placed him on the transfer list following his failure to agree a new contract with the Ashton Gate club. Maynard has scored a goal in every three games for City (45 in 122 games) and has already attracted interest from several sides including Leicester City, Nottingham Forest and Southampton. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/16299698.stm

Although WBA have an impressive strikeforce with both Shane Long and Peter Odemwingie starting Saturday’s 2-1 away victory at Stoke City on the bench, Hodgson will be looking to strengthen his squad in order to secure his side’s place in the Premier League. The Baggies currently lie in 15th place, seven points above the relegation zone.

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