Pearce Proud

Modest Ian Pearce reckons he has a real fight on his hands to claim a regular place in the side next season, pointing to the form of the other defenders at the club as being excellent.

But at Spurs he was able to start at the heart of the defence as Glenn Roeder switched to a wing back formation, allowing Ian to play alongside Tomas Repka and Christian Dailly.

His injury problems have been well chronicled, and now he has returned, his appearances thus far have been at right back.

But a commanding performance in the thick of things gives Glenn Roeder plenty to think about for next season.

Glenn said at the beginning of the campaign that Ian was a major part of his plans, but a delayed return to action after a knee injury meant that selection had to be deferred.

And the player himself insists: "I won't be fit until next season when I get a long run of games, but that might be hard because our defenders have been fantastic and outstanding this season.

"But once I get the chance I have got to try and take it."

Ian, who once was a striker, was delighted to have earned the Hammers a point with his late strike at White Hart Lane on Saturday, and says of the goal: "I knew I had hit it sweet, and to be fair I was just pleased for us to get a result there.

"It was important to me getting in the team and I wanted to do something to justify my being in it. All I can say is that I enjoyed it thoroughly."

And he certainly enjoyed the celebrations, running straight over to the Hammers corner at the end where he hit the shot.

"I enjoyed it too much," he smiles, "I was too tired to try and block their last shot - and I should have got a bit of a telling off for that!

"But I'm due that one anyway."