The Last Of The 'friendlies'

West Ham's final friendly of the summer, against Dutch side Vitesse Arnhem this evening, sees a strong squad travel to Roots Hall. Tickets are available, and the game is definitely on.

Last weekend, Southend's match against Wimbledon was called off due to a waterlogged pitch, but there is no pitch inspection for the Friday fixture, for which tickets are still available, priced £15 and £10 for adults, and £5 for under-16s and OAPs.

There will be three senior absentees, Tomas Repka, Steve Lomas, and Paolo Di Canio, due to injury, while Don Hutchison is of course on the long term injury list as well - but is making good progress.

Glenn Roeder is looking forward to the match, and says: "They will be very fit and very well organised which all Dutch teams are - and they will pass the ball, which is very important, because that is what we want to do when we are in possession, pass the ball quickly."

Glenn is looking for a defensive improvement on Monday night's 5-4 defeat at Reading, and adds: "We have got to make sure that we defend the set plays properly. There is no need to get a phobia about it, because generally speaking last year we only conceded from a handful of set plays.

"We are not a particularly tall team, we have not got great height in the side, but for the most part we coped with set plays very well.

"But on Monday night we conceded four goals from set plays, and it was the full range - from a wide free kick, a corner kick, and to rub salt into the wounds a penalty kick.

"Apart from that Reading hardly created a chance in open play, which you wouldn't want them to do against us.

"Some of our football on the offensive side was as good as even at times last year. The one touch football that led to Fredi's goal was fantastic, and equally Joe Cole's goal was the goal of the night, not only in the way he finished it, but in the build up - there must have been seven passes that cut right through Reading before he stuck it away very well.

"But conceding from set plays is conceding cheap goals, and all five goals were a disaster on Monday, even the one that wasn't a set piece, where the wide left player skipped through our defender much too easily and we didn't pick up Cureton who scored.

"We have actually taken two days since Monday defending set plays, and I want to see an improvement tonight.

"But it is better that it would happen in a friendly, and we have got a couple of weeks to sort it out, starting tonight.

"I will be looking to make a few changes later on in the game but we will be starting with as strong a side as we can put out at the moment.

"This is our last outing in public before we go to Newcastle on Monday week, so it is obviously an important game."

Squad: James, Van der Gouw, Schemmel, Dailly, Winterburn, Johnson, Labant, Pearce, Carrick, Cole, Breen, Sinclair, Garcia, Cisse, Moncur, Defoe, Kanoute, Camara, Sofiane, Courtois, McCann, Forde.