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Page last updated at 11:24 GMT, Friday, 6 May 2011 12:24 UK

Peter Odemwingie reflects on debut season

Peter Odemwingie
Odemwingie was named April's Premier League Player of the Month

West Bromwich Albion striker Peter Odemwingie has been looking back on a hugely successful debut season in the Premier League.

The Nigerian, who joined the Baggies from Lokomotiv Moscow for £1.5 million in August, stands fifth in the top scorers list and his 14 goals (so far) is the most scored by an Albion player in the top flight since Garry Thompson hit 19 in 1984-85.

He credits the fans for his instant impact in English football.

"It's strange, I got this feeling right from the first game," Odemwingie told BBC WM.

"When they are calling out your name you feel they are there and it's very encouraging. I can only be happy."

The modest forward cannot understand why he is so popular but supporters of one of his former clubs, Lille, appear to have summed up his appeal.

"They used to have a little song for me, they said 'he runs, he scores and he smiles' and that's just how I've been," he said.

My immediate future is here, I'm relaxed and I even changed apartments last month so my plans are to continue here

West Brom striker Peter Odemwingie

It has not all been easy though.

Racist chanting from sections of supporters at his last club, Locomotiv Moscow, soured his departure from Russia and form and fitness problems saw the goals dry up as Albion tumbled towards the relegation zone.

But Odemwingie's rejuvenation with five goals in his last six games has not only earned him the Premier League player of the month award but also put an end to fears of an immediate return to the Championship for the club.

Inevitably it has also triggered speculation over where he will be next season.

However, he is quick to allay the fears of worried Baggies fans.

"My immediate future is here. I'm relaxed and I even changed apartments last month so my plans are to continue here," he said.

"The minimum I need for my career I have it. I want to play in the Premier League and I have it."

Despite his own impressive contribution Odemwingie was keen to praise the impact of head coach Roy Hodgson.

West Bromwich Albion's Peter Odemwingie
Odemwingie has represented Nigeria in a World Cup and Olympic Games

Hodgson took over from Roberto Di Matteo with the club sitting just two points outside the bottom three but a run of one defeat in 10 has seen the Baggies move towards mid-table security.

"The organisation defensively was something we needed to work on and, since he came, we look better and have conceded less goals.

"I just have to thank everyone, the club, the supporters and everyone working here. I am playing with a lot of happiness and desire."

BBC WM has live commentary on Wolves v West Bromwich Albion on Sunday, 8 May from 1100 BST



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