| 7°C Dublin

Hodgson urges treble hero Cox to curb exit talk

West Brom boss Roy Hodgson has urged hat-trick hero Simon Cox to knock on his door first before he speaks out of turn about his future.

The Republic of Ireland striker said last week he might have to leave The Hawthorns for the sake of his career if he fails to hold down a first-team place. But Cox has been thrust back into the spotlight given the back injury to fellow Ireland international Shane Long.

The 24-year-old made only his second Premier League start of the season in Tuesday's 1-0 defeat at Spurs, following that up with his trio of goals in yesterday's FA Cup third-round triumph over Cardiff.

Hodgson initially expressed his delight with Cox's performance. "That's a positive for Simon, who has taken his chance when it has come along," he said.

"I thought he did very well at Tottenham the other night as well, so with his three goals and his performance today, it's a clear positive for us and for him. The way he played today, he clearly showed he deserves a place in the team, and we'll be thinking very seriously about that.

"Simon's a good trainer, good finisher. In the finishing practices he is always right up there, so he has to be pleased with his day's work.

"I'm pleased for him, pleased he's shown he is a Premier League quality player and that he has taken his chance after being given it with great aplomb. On both occasions he has been amongst our best players."

But asked as to his thoughts when told of Cox's comments, Hodgson was clearly unimpressed, adding: "My thinking has never changed. I've never considered him going elsewhere.

"I don't know what he's said to the press, but as far as I'm concerned he is a West Bromwich Albion player, and I'm very happy about that.

"Before he makes those statements and gets you [the press] all so excited, it might be a good idea if he comes and speaks to me. It's the first I've heard of it."

A seemingly offside strike from Peter Odemwingie and Cox's first put Albion 2-0 ahead after 33 minutes. Referee Lee Probert also ignored strong penalty appeals shortly beforehand seemingly evened up the score. James Morrison produced a surging run to the deadball line, with his cut-back clearly hitting the hand of a sliding Dekel Keinan. The argument from Probert appeared to be it was one of those Keinan was unable to avoid.

But against a Cardiff side showing 10 changes, with the first leg of the Carling Cup semi-final with fellow Championship outfit Crystal Palace on Tuesday, Albion surrendered their cushion.

Former Baggies striker Robert Earnshaw tapped home in the 36th minute and then substitute Simon Mason equalised five minutes after the break.

Cox, however, had the final say, initially with a thunderous 25-yard effort just after the hour and then a seven-yard tap-in at the death.

Hodgson added: "It's good we didn't shoot ourselves in the foot by losing the game. We almost paid a high price after taking a sensible lead and than committing hara-kiri by giving the goals back.

"But luckily we were able to get the third goal which put us on the front foot again, and after that we had a lot of chances to add to that, but we only scored once."

City boss Malky Mackay admitted to being "very proud" of his team given the number of changes he made.

"We managed to get back into the game and looked as if we were on the front foot, but it was a magnificent strike from Cox to take the win," said Mackay.

"We ran a Premier League side very close. At 2-2 I looked across at the opposition dugout and their manager was looking quite animated, so we were certainly doing something right."

Sunday Indo Sport