Glenn Praises Les

Glenn Roeder hails Les Ferdinand as one of a 'dying breed' of centre forward whose bravery is so impressive.

One of Glenn's decisions this weekend is to choose between 'Sir' Les and Fredi, both of whom are desperate to start up front against Aston Villa.

"Les Ferdinand is very much a dying breed of striker that does go into battle with central defenders," says Glenn, who is delighted that he chose the difficult path of coming to Upton Park rather than picking up his final few months' salary at White Hart Lane in the comfort zone.

"He always said he was up for the fight and he has proved that. There is plenty of fighting and scrapping and hopefully good football to be played from us in the remaining six games," he adds.

Les was again injured on Saturday, and Glenn reveals: "In his own penalty box he has got a smack on the cheekbone that opened up and there was a nasty cut there after the game.

"It is not surprising he picks up so many knocks during a game of football because he puts himself where other people wouldn't even dream about.

"Les gets quite a lot of decisions against him and because he is a big lad people think that he is the offender, but he is often the one who is being offended against."

To illustrate his point, he claims Les could have been given a penalty last weekend and says: "We were well in the game when Svensson climbed all over Les and he could have quite easily been awarded a penalty.

"It wasn't to be and we were a goal down at half time, but to our credit there was no hint of carrying the disappointment on in the second half."

But he admits that on another day, Les would have got on the scoresheet.

"We were sticking with it and we actually fashioned the first decent chance of the game when Les got to the near post," says Glenn.

"He said himself he got caught in two minds and the opportunity went, but I have seen him so often in the past sweep those balls in."

As for comparisons with Fredi, Glenn says: "Fredi is a completely different type of big striker to Les but I have never felt that he is not brave - he will put his foot or head in to score a goal in the penalty box if he can."

Naturally, Jermain Defoe will keep his place and Glenn says of his performance at the weekend: "Jermain didn't have masses of touches during the game, but he finished brilliantly when he had a chance and made it look easier than it was - his agility was amazing."

Glenn is hoping to use the throwing power of Glen Johnson as a tactic in the remaining games to help reverse the trend of the side rarely converting from set pieces - if, indeed, a throw-in can be considered as such.

"In the first 10 minutes, Southampton must have had half a dozen long throws straight into our penalty box which is always hard to defend against.

"Our goal came off a long throw funnily enough and it is something we will have to look at more, as Glen Johnson proved on Saturday he has got an amazingly long throw - and they are so difficult to work against.

"He has got great strength in the top half of his body and he can launch the ball a long way.

"Steve Lomas is another one that is capable of taking long throws for us and it is something we will have to look more at."

Having had time to reflect fully on the point at St. Mary's that, hard earned that it was, saw the Hammers cut further adrift from the safety of 17th place, he says: "St. Mary's has become a little bit of a fortress this year with only Manchester United and Liverpool having won there this season and, as much as we wanted to win - and on another day we would have pinched a win with the half chances we had - it wasn't to be.

"Although we don't like to be, we have to be satisfied with a hard-earned point and, it must be stressed, a well deserved point.

"I thought we limited Southampton as the home team to hardly any clear cut chances whatsoever, and it was a big disappointment for us to concede a minute before half time, which we did last year in the same fixture.

"It came from a free kick that was debatable but Telfer reacted very quickly and hit a long diagonal and we lost the ball in the air.

"Tomas did well to get his head to the ball that was headed into the box but we still didn't clear and Marsden ended up knocking a ball in and lo and behold it had to be Beattie - who is having a marvellous season - coming in and I don't think he knew too much about it other than the ball hit his shin and squirmed into the goal.

"It was disappointing to say the least. There is never a good time to concede a goal but a minute before half time when you have battled so hard can take the wind completely out of your sails.

"But I have to say that we managed to have a constructive talk at half time, and sent the boys out in a positive manner for the second half - and they responded with a battling performance that thoroughly deserved the point we ended up getting.

"We tried to start well and we were conscious of that, but they also started well with a style of football that is so hard to play against.

"Their back four hit continuous long balls at Beattie and then to go for the knock downs."