Friendly Philosophy

Glenn Roeder says that the opposition West Ham face in the build up to the new season serves the club's purpose better than going away on tour or playing 'glamour' games.

Explaining his philosophy, he says:

"When we arranged the preseason games we tried to increase the quality of the opposition the further we went and the closer we get to kick-off time.

"We took the view that Orient and Southend provided the right sort of opposition for our first couple of games and then we move up a division to Colchester tonight, then we play two first division clubs in Norwich and Reading who will provide good opposition.

"They play a good attractive game, and are not known for anything other than good English football, if you want.

"Then we finish with Vitesse Arnhem, who had a very good season in the Dutch league last year, and we finished with a Dutch team last year, Utrecht in Jersey, which was fine.

"That game is at Southend because Upton Park is not ready, and they will give us a difficult match.

"We literally had to rush last year because when I took over there wasn't any preseason arranged, so we had to start from scratch and we were chasing around very late to find opposition, but our preseason last year didn't do us any harm when you look back on the seventh place we got.

"Sometimes you play these big Europeaan clubs and you don't get the sort of high tempo games you want that is similar to playing in the Premiership.

"We know when we play Reading, Norwich, and Vitesse Arnhem, those three games will be good tests for us; Dutch football is quite high tempo, and it is those three that we are looking to get our act together and in shape for Newcastle.

"Tonight is when I intend to introduce David James back into action, and then we will look at the last three games as starting to nail down what the shape of the team is going to be for the start of the season."

Glenn is happy that it has not been such a rush to organise this summer's games, and adds:

"We had an opportunity to actually prepare a framework and plan ahead for how we wanted the preseason to go; we started planning it last January, deciding what we wanted to do and when we wanted to do it."

Glenn introduced warm weather work for the first time this summer, with 10 days' intensive work in Portugal, and he says:

"I have always felt warm weather fitness work is always good preparation when the muscles are stretched quite easily and you can get a good sweat.

"John McCarthy happened to agree, and he proved last year to be an excellent acquisition to the backroom team.

"We were never going to play a game in Portugal, but we went there early and mainly for fitness work, but we also played some football out there as we had a very good pitch to work on.

"Now we are back based at Chadwell Heath for the rest of preseason and working on our fitness and ball work, 11 v 11 practices, and every five or so days ago we have a game."