Trev: Don't Be Distracted

Trevor Brooking says that the Hammers must not be distracted by the rumours about Paolo Di Canio as they look to get back to winning ways in the Premiership.

The defeat at Leeds last week ended a seven game unbeaten run in the league, and Trevor is urging the players - including Paolo - to be focused on getting three points at the weekend.

Speaking on HammersLine, Trevor says: "There is a bit of a distraction with the Paolo saga but more than anything the players just have to concentrate on getting a good result in the league."

For all the discussion about what sort of fee it might take to prise Paolo away from Upton Park, Trevor insists: "You just have to look at it realistically from West Ham's point of view.

"There is no point in giving a valuable asset like Paolo away, and although I just think I'm sure he is attracted by the move, for us, with the papers suggesting £1.5 or £2m, he is more valuable than that sort of figure.

"In home games in particular he will always give you a chance to win and although it appears Manchester United would be looking to acquire him at the right price, it's really got to be beneficial for us - and Paolo as well.

"There is no point us losing one of our best assets for too low a fee.

"Whatever happens, Paolo has been a fantastic entertainer, a crowd pleaser, and has rightly earned the admiration of lots of fans.

"For a couple of seasons he has been as good as anyone in the Premiership; he had his sinus problems last year but has come back this season and generally speaking has contributed well.

"If you'd said you would let Paolo go for £1.5m you'd be inundated by people wanting to sign him for that because he is a talented lad.

"There is no point in the club giving him away for that sort of fee now when we know what he can do for us on the last 18 months of his contract.

"He still does things on the ball that other players can't do and, whilst we have got Jermain coming through, you do want to coax him through and you can't envisage him having to play every game as he develops over the next year or 18 months."

Trevor, like Glenn, hopes to see Paolo back to his best at Upton Park this weekend after a full week's training.

"It is the situation it was at the weekend where a fee was rejected and that is it; both the club and the player are now trying to focus on Saturday unless something contrary happens," he says.

Trevor was impressed by Jermain Defoe's performance at the weekend, and says of his goals: "He just got half a yard ahead of his marker and helped it into the back corner on the swivel, and with the second he saw the keeper off the line and clipped it early - having gone back 20 yards to win the ball in the first place."

But he does not feel Jermain is a ready made replacement for Paolo and adds: "You can see he is enjoying it and you can see he is a terrific finisher, but you can't afford to throw him in week in, week out.

"He has been a huge bonus for us this season, especially as Fredi and Paolo have missed games and we have always had him available to come in."

Glenn is still seeking to be active in the transfer market, both in the long and short term.

"The club is still looking to get one or two loans in," says Trevor, "and we'll see what happens on the other business. If anyone else can be brought in that will happen and Glenn is still working hard on that issue as well.

"If you can bring in anyone it has to be someone who can contribute and certainly by the start of next season we will need a few new faces.

"Certainly, from where we are sitting now, we probably need four or five as opposed to one or two, so there is a lot of work to be done in the next few months.

"At this stage of the season it is a busy time for Glenn anyway, so it is a case of balancing it up but a lot is going on to make sure we start off in a lot stronger position next season than we did this.

"There is a concern about the depth of the squad and we have been very fortunate over December to have only the odd injury in Michael, Fredi, and Paolo, but not at the back.

"But you can't go on without getting injuries and suspensions and either we get someone in between now and the end of the season or see whether those below do step into the breach.

"But it has been a concern for the club and Glenn that we haven't got the quality in depth - the side has made a lot of progress but we are not trying to kid anyone that there is a lot of work to be done to increase competition for places."

As for the Leicester game, he says: "It's about getting that consistency now and trying to get a little league run going, which is why Saturday is important.

"A win gets you into the top half and thinking of things other than looking over your shoulder.

"The 1-1 draw at Leicester was about right last month - we got a penalty which was disputed but I don't think Leicester did enough to win the game."

As for the win over Macclesfield, and a reunion with Kevin Keen, Trevor adds: "He got mentioned for actually cleaning my boots but I don't remember him doing that - although some would also say I never got them dirty.

"I thought he did okay, and Macclesfield did - they just didn't get the goal in the first half which ideally the underdogs want.

"But they conducted themselves well and were a very friendly club."

And the fracas involving John Moncur?

"The opposition were 2-0 down, and all it did was cause a mini-riot with about 14 players all getting involved in scuffles and pushing and shoving," says Trevor.

"The harsh fact is it was all caused by what one or two might have thought was an amusing yank up by Moncs, but the fact is it sparked off a big scuffle.

"Fortunately there were only 10 minutes to go and Joe popped up with another, so it wasn't critical.

"If Moncs ever plays football after his professional career I can see him getting sent off in a charity game!"