Glenn: Let's Lose Tag

Glenn Roeder wants to rid West Ham of the tag of getting poor results against lower league sides in cup competitions, starting with a win over Rushden and Diamonds tonight.

The label - one that Harry Redknapp said after a knock-out defeat he had just surveyed he "could write a book about" was even picked up on by Rushden director Stephen Griggs who has supported West Ham United for over 30 years.

Griggs, whose dad Max formed the Nene Park club in 1992, said that one of the most difficult things about supporting the club was just such a record, and Glenn says: "That is always thrown at us and the fact we have means I suppose the question will always be asked, but if you look at many other clubs as well they have had plenty of banana skins in their time where they slip up.

"But we have slipped up one or two times; we have got to make sure that doesn't happen on Wednesday evening and that is what we will be setting out to do; hopefully we have spotted their strengths - and weaknesses."

Rushden and Diamonds' progress has been steady improvement in recent years. When Griggs' company Dr Martens began sponsoring West Ham five years ago, the Hammers were in the Premiership and Rushden were still non-league.

Now, with the visitors newly promoted to the second division, the gap is minimal and, although the shirt sponsorship ended in the summer, the west stand will continue to be named after the company for the next seven seasons.

Meanwhile, Glenn admits that the side could play better than they did in the 2-1 opening day win at Preston on Saturday, but insists there are extenuating circumstances.

"There were six players making a debut and it made it a difficult afternoon. The players deserve some credit for keeping their spirits and morale high and you could not point a finger at anyone for not giving their all," he says.

"If one or two players were not at their best at least they were playing with their hearts on their sleeves, and supporters could see they were giving their all for the club.

"I am sure we will play better and I know we can play better, but when you take into account what has happened over the last couple of weeks with players leaving, and generally what has been happening over the last couple of months, I still would have been delighted to achieve three points no matter how it came.

"As always you get little or no time to enjoy those three points before you are working to the next game, against Rushden - and then against a team on Saturday, Sheffield United, that is expected to win promotion automatically."

Did Glenn feel the booking for David Connolly's goal celebrations were harsh, though?

"I thought so, but I have to say that generally speaking Paul Danson had a very good game so I have no complaints about his performance," he concludes.

Preston manager Craig Brown, incidentally, believes that in general players are not too badly affected by what happens off the field.

The former Scotland boss said: "Problems affect the club rather than the players. Generally, players just want to play and if you look through their side they are all top class players.

"They go and play football which is their job and hobby in most cases. West Ham will be there right at the end of this championship."

David James, incidentally, was a YTS player at Watford when Rushden manager Brian Talbot was captain there.

There will be extra time and penalties to conclude the game tonight if the scores are level after 90 or 120 minutes.

*Former midfielder Alan Devonshire has been appointed as the new manager of Ryman League Division One South side Hampton & Richmond Borough.

He had been in charge of Ryman Premier Division side Maidenhead United for nine years, but left the club at the end of last season.