Glenn: Clear The Tension

Glenn Roeder is hoping a couple of away days will relieve the tension of West Ham's position at the bottom of the table.

The Hammers follow up the long trip to Blackburn with a short hop across the Thames on January 1st - another eight goal affair last season, but on that occasion with the goals distributed evenly - and Glenn says that might be to the players' advantage.

"All games are very difficult for us at the moment and nothing is coming easy," he admits, "but you hope going away from home for a couple of games will mean less tension in the team, because against Fulham there were periods where we were playing with lots of tension in our play - which we haven't seen too much of this year.

"We have had good, winning performances recently, but it has not happened and that has been disappointing.

"There were too many periods against Fulham where we looked tense, and we need to be able to not let the tension affect us.

"We have to go away from home and pick up points, that goes without saying; we are not getting the points we want at Upton Park, so it makes it even more important that when we go away we do bring back good results.

"Without doubt there is huge determination, we have just got to put the situation out of our minds so that we concentrate and play without that tension."

West Ham face a buoyant Blackburn who beat Manchester United at Ewood Park last week, and Glenn says:

"It was a fantastic home result for them against Manchester United; there are not too many teams that get wins against them."

And, of course, a 7-1 defeat in the corresponding fixture last time around is the focus of some attention as well.

"That can't be in the players' minds; we have to just get focused on the game in hand and attack the game to bring back a good result," he says.

Grant McCann, who scored an own goal in that game, finishes his suspension at the weekend - a ban received while he was on loan at Cheltenham.

Tomas Repka, incidentally, will get a four match ban following his expulsion against Fulham: two games are for the sending off itself and two are for reaching ten bookings.

Despite reports to the contrary, Eduoard Cisse has recovered from chicken pox, though Glenn says:

"Eduoard is in the squad; he has been feeling quite weak since he has had the chicken pox but it is a case of us quite well needing him on Saturday.

"It is good to have Fredi back but it is possible this game might come too quick for him; he was always going to play 60 or 70 minutes on Boxing Day and no more to avoid damage to a suspect groin - we couldn't possibly expect him to play 90 after being out for 13 weeks."

At least Glenn will soon be able to return to the transfer market when the window briefly opens, and he says:

"We would have made a move six or seven weeks ago and it has not done us any favours, but we are rapidly approaching January the 1st and working on two or three deals at the moment."

For Blackburn, Lucas Neill returns from suspension and David Dunn from injury.

SQUAD: James, Bywater, Forde, Repka, Winterburn, Carrick, Dailly, Sinclair, Defoe, Lomas, Kanoute, Cole, Schemmel, Breen, Moncur, Hutchison, Pearce, Cisse, Sofiane, Johnson, Ferdinand, Byrne, Camara, Minto, Iriekpen.