Hammers Lead The Way

West Ham are investing in new technology to improve their facilities at Chadwell Heath - and are to become the first football club in the country to instal a revolutionary new hydrotherapy unit at their training base.

Christian Dailly has had to go to Manchester for the unique treatment, as will Trevor Sinclair soon - but eventually the players will have it right on their doorstep.

Physio John Green explains:

"The hydrotherapy flume is like a large bath tub with a flow of water that can be controlled, so the player is running into the flow and trying to keep his balance.

"It is like running in rapids, and is a really good way to work, because you are doing functional work but you are not jarring, say, the knee and creating swelling problems.

"Paul Aldridge and the board have been very supportive of my application to obtain one.

"It can be of benefit in the rehab of all upper and lower limb problems; American football clubs have two or three for their players to use.

"It would have helped Stuart Pearce with his ankle problem recently because he could have done running work, but not on land.

"We'll be the first club in the country to have one, and once again it is a case of West Ham setting trends rather than following them.

"A lot of clubs have grandiose new training grounds with fantastic flashy swimming pools, but in the course of my investigations I have found them to be a bit of a white elephant.

"All you can do in them is swim and run on the spot in the shallow end, and you haven't got the benefit of being able to control the flow of the water.

"If a player is recovering from a ligament injury or a fracture, the flume is a nice interim measure before he goes back onto the playing surface.

"They are extremely expensive; the club comes in for some stick on financial issues sometimes, but when you go to the club and the board with an idea, if it is a good one it is never a question of how much it costs.

"If we need it, and it's beneficial, we get it.

"I can only be positive about the board and the chairman's attitude."

The system, made by a company called Swimex, is part of an overall package of improvements to be made to training HQ and John adds:

"Plans to redesign the training ground are agreed upon and planning permission has been gained."

Of the injuries, John explains:

"Christian Dailly will be back from Manchester this weekend and hopefully will get the all clear to play after easter.

"Trevor is back from his break and will go on monday for the hydro work.

"Craig still has a fractured finger and will not be OK until after easter.

"Ian Pearce won't be available until after the weekend having hyperextended his knee last week.

"He was doing extra sprinting work and put his foot down where the grass was waterlogged.

"It went further down than he was expecting and he pulled the tissues at the back of his knee.

"It locked backwards and is exqusitely sore.

"Titi Camara still has some nasty swelling on his knee, and has had some fluid drawn off it.

"If it doesn't settle down we will look at it next week."

* He doesn't play for West Ham and he isn't a forward as has been reported - but former Hammers midfielder Marc Keller, who left for Blackburn on a free transfer earlier this year, is going home.

He will return to his former club Racing Strasbourg to become Director of Football, and the french club's president Patrick Proisy says:

"Marc Keller has re-joined Racing Strasbourg as Director of Football.

"We've had a difficult season and that's highlighted the need to restructure behind the scenes.

"He's accepted the offer of a contract and he's the right choice because of what he's won, his reputation and his devotion to the club.

"He will help with the choice of the next coach and will propose it to the board of directors.

"The relationship between the two does not mean that the present coach will not be here next season."

He established that reputation with Strasbourg by playing 149 matches before moving to Karlsruhe in Germany, from where he came to West Ham on a free transfer.

He joined Blackburn on a free transfer in a deal that was not, as has been said, tied up with the move of Christian Dailly to West Ham at around the same time.

He was with Portsmouth earlier in the season on loan but left when Steve Claridge took over as boss.

He was known for his ability to grab the odd spectacular goal, and, despite being out of favour this season, never publicly complained.

Strasbourg look likely to be relegated this season.