Glenn: Desperately Short

Glenn Roeder admits he is going into the first game of the season "desperately short" of players - but will not be rushed into getting players just for the sake of numbers.

"It is time to gather up players and find new ones because at the moment we are desperately short," he admits as he puts together the final preparations for the Preston game.

"We are in a position to bring them in now but it is important that they are good enough; the easy thing would be to pick five or six players from the hundreds of foreign players who are looking for work, though that would be acquisition for the wrong reasons, and I don't want to go down that road.

"We are all nervous about picking up injuries but I am very positive about the new signings and no on could think the players we have brought in won't make a contribution - but we need another four or five of similar quality to give us strength in depth."

There are three players currently on the injured list - Michael Carrick, Steve Lomas, and Ian Pearce - and Glenn adds:

"The worrying thing is that we have Michael, Ian, and Steve injured and those three would make a big difference, so the sooner they get back the better.

"John Green is, if not the best physio in the country - he might have his equal somewhere - there is no one better than him.

"He is disappointed that those three finished last season injured but that is not his fault, or that of the players, but I won't put those three back in until they are ready to play 90 minutes."

Glenn says that the club must get over the loss of Joe Cole and he adds:

"We have to pick ourselves up and get on with it.

"As Trevor Brooking said he had just one more year left on his contract and Joe made it crystal clear after speaking to his advisors that he wouldn't be signing a new contract.

"We didn't want to lose him in the manner Spurs lost Sol Campbell and get very little compensation on a Bosman.

"It became impossible when Chelsea came in with the offer they did, but just as important as the fact that Joe is sold is that he is the last player we have to sell.

"For me personally it has been a great pleasure working with Joe, and especially in the last two years as his manager; I hope he has learnt at least something from me.

"I gave him the captaincy before the away game at Middlesbrough and he has grown in maturity and gained in experience since then.

"It goes without saying he has his best years ahead of him and now we have to wish him well at his new club.

"Whatever anyone thinks we all feel the same way about Joe; he has been with us since the age of 12 or 13 and, like with Glen Johnson no one likes losing one of their own - no one is comfortable about that happening.

"Because of relegation we have lost players of the calibre of those two and Joe will always be special in everyone's hearts at West Ham."

With Joe leaving, and Steve Lomas injured, Christian Dailly is captain at Preston and Glenn explains:

"I like captains to be in central positions on the field - central defence or central midfield, as it is important the skipper is close to the action where he is in a position to talk to the players and encourage them.

"He is a vastly experienced player and that extends to him having a regular place in the Scotland side."

Glenn is delighted that, in one of the most difficult weeks of his managerial career at Upton Park, there has been one piece of good news - the signing of Neil Mellor [who will wear number 14] from Liverpool for a year.

For that he is keen to thank Liverpool and he says:

"We are very grateful to Liverpool and Gerard Houllier for allowing us to take Neil for a year on loan; they have been excellent in helping myself and West Ham and Rick Parry has been very helpful as well.

"I feel we have a good relationship with Liverpool Football Club and we hope Neil enjoys his stay with West Ham, gaining the experience he requires so he can be ready to play in their first team.

"It is a one year loan, and as he is here for the whole year he will be able to play in the cups and everything.

"Whatever level he has played at he has scored goals, whether in the academy, the reserves, or in the few first team games he has had - he scored a couple just the other night against Aberdeen.

"He is a talented player, young and enthusiastic, and I am sure he will want to learn and gain experience.

"He knows it will be tough but there comes a time in any young player's career when he has to play first team football and Gerrard Houllier feels that time is right.

"We have three potent strikers in Neil, David Connolly and Jermain Defoe, and of course Don Hutchison is a good finisher with Matthew Etherington able to supply the ammunition from the left wing."

As for the first day opposition, he says:

"I have seen them four times in preseason and they have improved.

"Players like Fuller and Cresswell have Premiership experience and they got a victory over Everton recently.

"I have had a good look at a video of them and I am fully aware of their strengths and weaknesses; they are solid, they will be up for it, and it has the makings of a good opening day fixture.

"Craig Brown their manager is a very knowledgeable, nice, and courteous man with whom I have had dealings when he was Scotland manager."

And favourites to win the championship or not, Glenn says there will be no complacency.

"Every fixture will be treated the same as last season, whether it is Manchester United or Macclesfield," he insists.

* Monday's reserve team fixture with Arsenal at Barnet has been postponed.