WBA manager Roy Hodgson optimistic about Owen Hargreaves's fitness

WBA manager Roy Hodgson optimistic about Owen Hargreaves's fitnessWest Bromwich Albion have held further talks with Owen Hargreaves and are confident that the former Manchester United player will pass a full medical if they can agree personal terms with him.

Albion were the first club to make contact with the midfielder after he was released by United at the end of last season, following four injury-plagued years at Old Trafford during which he made only 39 appearances. The 30-year-old has remained in contact with the Midlands club ever since and recently met Roy Hodgson, the Albion manager, and Dan Ashworth, the sporting director, to discuss their proposal.

He has also undergone a preliminary medical examination at the club that has led Hodgson to believe the 30-year-old will come through more stringent tests if and when the need arises. "Dan has had further talks with him and the talks have been relatively positive," said Hodgson, who expects Albion to face competition from other Premier League clubs for a player who cost United £17m four years ago. "We believe he's capable of playing top-flight football again and we're very interested in him."

Asked whether Hargreaves has had a medical, Hodgson replied: "A minor one, yes. If he was to join us of course he'd have a proper medical with all the scans. We haven't done that. He came to visit with Alex McKechnie, the man who's been largely credited with supervising his revival and our expert here, Mark Gillett [the club doctor], looked at him and agreed.

"If the day ever came when he was even close to signing a contract, he'd have to go through a more rigorous medical, but I quite firmly believe that he would just as easily pass that. Alex and Owen were keen to show the doctor that the knee was fine."

Peter Odemwingie, meanwhile, has given Albion a boost by signing an improved three-year contract that will end speculation about his future. Odemwingie, 30, scored 15 Premier League goals in his first season in England after joining from Lokomotiv Moscow 12 months ago. He has attracted interest from a number of clubs, including Wigan Athletic, who had a bid rejected last week.

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article was written by Stuart James, for The Guardian on Thursday 18th August 2011 23.00 Europe/London

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