Neil: The More The Merrier

Neil Mellor, who returns to action for the reserves against Leicester City on Wednesday evening after recovering from a gash on his ankle sustained in a reserve game last month, is looking forward to the extra competition Marlon Harewood brings to the club.

"It has been a few weeks though I didn't think it was that serious originally - I have only had one serious injury before which was with my back when I was 16, but I am coming back from this little setback now - and I am raring to go.

"It was difficult because I couldn't put much weight on my ankle for a while as the actual wound was open for four weeks."

The injury was caused by a boot with blades rather than the more traditional studs and Neil adds:

"A lot of players wear those blades and you can't really put a ban on them; it was just one of those tackles really, nothing malicious intent to do me and I can't blame the lad.

"With someone like Beckham wearing them it is difficult to criticise; I have never really worn them but some players like them.

"It has been frustrating being out but hopefully I can stake a place again."

Neil says he has no problems about Marlon Harewood being added to the forward line since he has been out and adds:

"It can only be good for West Ham to have so many good players at the club; competition improves you as a player anyway so when I return fit we will see what happens.

"You have to be at your best to get picked now because there are so many strikers at the club and it will be interesting, that's for sure.

"I am pleased we got the first win under Alan recently but we obviously didn't think it would take that long; hopefully we can go on from there, put Stoke behind us, and with a big game against Sunderland coming up it is important to get amongst the leaders again."

Alan Pardew welcomes back his return and says:

"I really like Neil as a person and I have spoken to him about the opportunities he has had coming on as sub; I don't really feel it has worked out for him yet and reserve games give the ideal opportunity to get going.

"He would have given us major options for over the weeks he has been out but he ended up getting that nasty cut in the reserves."

Last word to Neil who has swapped one flat mate, the departed Matthew Kilgallon after he returned to Leeds following a loan spell, for David Noble. "Matt was improving all the time and enjoying himself but let's hope West Ham can buy him at the end of the season," he says.