Christian's Fear

Christian Dailly is hoping suspensions don't derail West Ham's season - and admits he wishes referees didn't have to brandish so many cards.

Tomas Repka faces a one match ban for reaching five bookings at Stamford Bridge on Saturday, when all he appeared to be doing was protecting himself when Frank Lampard raised his hands to him.

As a result he will miss the Bolton game on February 9, while Paolo Di Canio, sent off the previous week at Stamford Bridge, starts a three match ban after the weekend.

Trevor Sinclair, Nigel Winterburn, Sebastien Schemmel, and Christian are all a yellow card away from a one match suspension, and the Scottish international says: "If you touch anybody and there is any kind of reaction you get a card - we saw that the week before with Paolo's sending off, when really it was nothing.

"There are big consequences on yellow cards and with the size of our squad we need everybody available. I think refs have got to take a look at that sometimes and be a little bit more lenient.

"It was always going to be difficult the way yellow cards get brandished these days. It is almost impossible to get through the season without getting suspended.

"There is so much at stake and I think there are times when referees can just have a word to calm it down."

At least Christian takes heart from the performance at the weekend - a marked improvement on the previous week's 5-1 defeat.

"I think we are quite pleased with the draw after being one down," he says. "It was a great goal from Hasselbaink obviously, and we had to battle hard, but we didn't fold like we did the week before."

He says the employment of a 3-5-2 system, and the installation of Raggy Soma into the team, was not a problem, and adds: "It does take a little bit of getting used to, changing it, but without having Trevor playing we were short on wide men so the system suited us with who we had available.

"I'm pleased for Raggy. He came in and did really well after not starting a game for a while.

"He has been working hard on his game and his fitness and was doing well in reserve games, so it is good for him."

Whether a similar tactic is used tonight remains to be seen, but Christian adds: "Everybody does probably prefer 4-4-2 but you have to do what is best for the personnel you have and be adaptable.

"Everybody here has played both systems numerous times, but regardless of the system I think the main thing was that we battled away and there wasn't any slackness in the marking like at the corner the week before.

"That was really the difference. Even though they scored we still responded and kept doing what we believed in.

"We have got them back to Upton Park so there is a big incentive in the FA Cup, especially with the likes of Manchester United and Liverpool going out.

"But now we are looking forward to Southampton; that is going to be a battle and we have to be up for it again."