A Quiet Christmas

West Ham's players are not having a Christmas party night out this year, despite a report in a Sunday newspaper last weekend to the contrary.

Reveals Glenn Roeder: "I have asked them not to. It is not needed, and as far as I'm concerned we have got our heads down.

"We don't want any problems off the field, as we have enough things to sort out on the field - and as far as I am concerned they have accepted that.

"Players now have such a high profile. They are on TV two or three times a week, their faces are seen in the papers by everybody, and these Christmas parties are not needed.

"We are paid professionals, extremely well paid athletes, and Christmas is work time, not play time, with so many games in a short period."

A selection of volunteers from the first team playing squad have, however, made a visit to to the Richard House children's hospice in Beckton.

As for the football, talking about the much vaunted statistic that says the team that is bottom on Christmas Day always goes down - since the inception of the Premiership in the 1992-93 season, at least - Glenn, knowing a win is needed to put Bolton on the bottom, says: "That has no bearing on the way I think and it won't dictate status - that will be decided at the end of the season.

"You can only form statistics on history, not on what is going to happen in the future, and to me personally it has no relevance - but we haven't played Bolton yet, so let's wait and see.

"No two seasons are the same just as no two matches are identical. The match is obviously very important for both teams - but it's not decisive."

As for the mood in the camp, Glenn says: "The players have retained their spirits very well and it has shown in their performance, but they need a win - and the important thing is, they deserve a win.

"But, in football, you don't always get what you deserve and you have to fight that little bit harder, and I am sure come Saturday afternoon against Bolton, the players will be prepared to go that extra yard."

Looking at the opposition, whose boss Sam Allardyce has admitted there is huge pressure not to finish Saturday afternoon bottom of the table, Glenn says: "They have very good players and the game I watched on Monday night when they were beaten by Leeds was never a 3-0. There were two wonder goals from Danny Mills and Jason Wilcox, 25-yard top corner jobs which gave the keeper no chance.

"I guess Sam would not be too happy with the second goal, and it would probably be put down to a defensive lapse.

"But, in between the goals, Bolton were always in the game and quite often had large chunks of it, where they had most of the possession.

"One or two of their players are particularly dangerous in Djorkaeff of France and Okacha of Nigeria.

"Michael Ricketts didn't play but he is always a threat, and Sam has got a decent sized squad to choose from.

"Our players have got to show the bravery they have shown recently, play the football we want to play, and turn a performance into a winning performance."

Meanwhile, talking of David Seaman's insistence this week that he will not retire from international football, Glenn says: "You have got to respect what David Seaman wants to do and it won't alter the focus of our keeper, David James, and that's all I've got to say."