Injuries Hit Preparations

Paul Goddard admits that injuries have disrupted plans for the last friendly of the summer against Vitesse Arnhem on Friday evening.

"We have lots of little niggles rather than anything serious, and it will just be a case of having a look at it to decide who is capable of playing and who is not - we will just have to wait and see," he admits.

"Paolo is still struggling a little bit and I don't think he is putting himself forward for the game, but he is working very hard in the gymnasium and I am sure he will be very fit when he comes back.

"Because of the little brush of minor injuries the team might not be as nailed down as we would like, but we are operating on a small squad system and we have got to be very careful - this is the last friendly before the start but we want everyone fit for that opening game."

Paul is hoping that defensively, the Hammers will be tighter than they were in the 5-4 defeat by Reading, and he says:

"If you were a neutral watching that game you would certainly have got your money's worth; it is a long time since I have watched a game like that.

"It was a game of so many contrasts and quite a hard one to analyse from our point of view afterwards.

"On the positive side some of our attacking play was very, very good, and the goals we scored were of a very high standard.

"But on the other side we had a mad 20 minute period and went from 2-0 up to 5-2 down.

"We know we can't afford to do that; we have examined everything and have worked for a number of days on things - we know we have to improve in those areas.

"We started so well and should have scored three or four, and we were thinking 'this is a lovely Monday evening in Royal Berkshire' - then suddenly there were slight errors, and then big ones, not to mention positive play by Reading.

"We found ourselves being given a bit of a spanking there, and a lot of things were said afterwards.

"People held their hands up, and it was a little bit of a reality check about what life is going to be like.

"I am sure everyone will be more focused for the upcoming first league game of the season.

"In many ways it did remind us of our early season away form last year, and we seemed to have knocked that out of us by the end of the season.

"And, realistically, up until that game we had been pretty solid in games so it was just a slap round the face, really."