Goddard: The Search Goes On

Paul Goddard says that every effort is being made to strengthen the quality of the squad - but rejects assertions that players could be leaving.

A young reserve team to face Coventry City on Tuesday night is proof of Paul's claim that the number of senior players at the club needs to be augmented, and why claims of an exodus of players are misleading.

John Moncur was linked with a move to Crystal Palace this week, but Paul says: "The phone has rung a number of times for different people on loan but Glenn and myself have a bit of a laugh really, because the last thing we can do is lose any players.

"The squad is wafer thin and you have only got to look at the subs' bench on Saturday and the other players that travelled to Sunderland to realise that we can't afford to do anything like that.

"Hopefully we don't lose anybody because numbers aren't big enough for that."

Although Spanish trialist Louis Ramis has been given clearance by his club Racing Santander to play against Coventry, Paul says there is a long way to go before a decision is made on whether or not to pursue interest in the defender.

"We have clearance for him to play in the reserves," says Paul, "and Glenn has decided to have a look at the boy.

"He has done quite well in training so we want to have a look at him in a game, and we will take it from there.

"Two weeks ago we had four different trialists in - most of them are free transfers we are looking at to see if we can find that little gem that might help us out."

Even during the season free transfers are now becoming available whereas in previous seasons this has normally only been the case when contracts run out in the summer.

It is a situation the club are hoping to exploit and Paul explains: "If you try to work out the implications of what goes on in the foreign countries it is very difficult at times to understand the thinking.

"Players can have a row with the president or the coach and they are exiled; obviously there are reasons but you have to take everyone as you see them."

Sven Andersson plays his first game in a Hammers shirt since signing on a free transfer from Helsingborgs, while Shaun Byrne makes his comeback game after being sidelined for several weeks with a fractured toe.

Coventry include Andy Goram and Julian Joachim in their squad.

Team: Andersson, Charles, Byrne, Ferrante, Ramis, Foxe, Newton, Garcia, Riza, Camara, Britton. Subs: Uddin, Jackson, Cascione, Smith, Metitri.