Bywater's Buzzing

Steve Bywater insists he will not have recurring problems of the hand injury which has ruled him out of action for the last four months.

Steve, who made his comeback in the reserves against Charlton last week, has had a similar wrist injury on both sides, but he says: "It is just coincidence that it has happened twice, and my right one ages ago was a lot worse than this time.

"I have been told how to look after it and it is just as strong as it was beforehand - I don't have to wear anything on it.

"I just needed to do some handling work and strengthening my left wrist up. I felt confident and strong when I played, as I have been working with Simon Webster for four months and I have been fit all the time."

Steve made a penalty save from Matt Svensson in the game to help the Hammers to a win, and he says: "I knew which way he would go anyway so I went early. He just got his head down and smashed it towards the bottom right corner."

Ironically, his opposite number that day was Sasa Ilic who joined the Hammers on loan after Steve's substitute debut appearance in the 5-4 win over Bradford two seasons ago.

At the other end of the field, he is delighted that James Allen made a name for himself, scoring both the goals on his reserve team debut, and he says: "James did well. He is a good lad who works hard in training and I am pleased for him.

"It is like a bank - you get out what you put in, and he grafted for the two goals."

Competition has intensified since Steve got injured with the arrival of Sven Andersson and David Forde, but he says: "We have a few keepers and it is not a bad five-a-side team, but there are a few ugly ones amongst them!

"If you worried about your position there would be a few hangings going on - you just have to get on with it.

"It is big business at the end of the day and if the manager wants to bring someone in, fine - as long as a person is doing well for himself that is all right.

With Shaka Hislop, Steve, David, and Sven all fit - Craig Forrest is still recuperating from chemotherapy - the youngster just hopes he can get more match action one way or the other as back-up to David James.

"The reserves is all about giving people games and all I can do is play when I am asked to," he says.

"It is just a case of getting games, it doesn't matter who it is for just as long as I am out there and getting involved.

"I don't know what will happen. It is up to the manager, but I'd like to play as I have been out for four months and all the time I was out I was thinking about it."

Steve is backing David James as having a good chance to secure the England number one spot this summer, and says: "Jamo and Nigel Martyn are the two favourites, I think. I don't know about Seaman's injury, he is playing, but you can't be as sharp as someone who has played throughout the season.

"I would have David down as my number one so fingers crossed he will be there. He is quick, strong, good in the air - he just needs to get his hair cut!

"When you see his physique, he is a naturally strong person and he has got more of a chance of recovering from that kind of injury, plus he is a grafter who works hard.

"He is always in the gym doing extra on his legs and his arms, so all credit to him.

"But I don't look up to anyone really, I play my own game but I pick up things when I watch games."