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Glenn Roeder says he was pleased that Paolo Di Canio got his first game of the season on Wednesday - but admits it may take a little while before he is ready to play a full game.
Paolo returned to action against West Brom after just 65 minutes' preseason action following a foot injury that hindered his preparations for the new campaign, and Glenn says:
"We might have to show a little patience to get him to the 90 minute mark, but he stayed on longer than I thought he would be able to the other night and proved that he keeps himself in pristine condition.
"Whatever he does now is going to be a bonus for us; he keeps in terrific shape, and nothing beats playing in matches to get match fitness."
Jermain Defoe made way for the return of Paolo, with Christian Dailly dropping to the bench to make way for Gary Breen, but Glenn says:
"Both of them will play plenty of games this year, there is no doubt about it.
"We have worked hard to create a situation where not everybody is guaranteed their place; we would have liked to have marched on and got a few more players but it wasn't to be this year.
"But, even so, we have got more strength in depth than we had last year and that makes the start we have had particularly frustrating."
Glenn goes along with his opposite number's assertion that it is too early to be making judgemental pronouncements on the season - indeed, his friend Glen Hoddle is quoted as saying 'if you were racing the Grand National and had only cleared five fences, you still wouldn't know where you would finish' - and insists he won't be changing the team's style.
"Not that we'd want to but we haven't got the players to do that anyway; we can only play in a certain way - but we also realise that way has to be a winning way," he says.
Despite Glenn's friendship with Hoddle, the fierce rivalry between the two clubs is noted, and Glenn says that must not cloud the overriding issue of getting the first win of the season.
"It has always been that way and it will always be that way, but apart from the rivalry between the clubs it is about us getting a win," he stresses.
"We need it on Sunday, and we are going to be in a positive frame of mind going there - everyone is looking forward to the game and will want to be involved in it."
* West Ham face Chesterfield away in the second round of the Worthington Cup in the week beginning September 30th.