Alan: Good To Have Duo Back

Alan Pardew is looking forward to the return of Jermain Defoe after a five match suspension and Matthew Etherington following injury as he looks to shuffle the pack for the Sunderland game.

"We have really missed Jermain and Matthew Etherington and on Tuesday we were looking for a catalyst to open something up and they could have been the answer - it is good news that they are back for Saturday."

Alan knows that publicity tends to follow Jermain but is adamant that a misinterpreted off the cuff remark made at the AGM this week, which a newspaper journalist who attended the meeting picked up on, will not affect his performances at all.

"I think he is disappointed about the way the comments came out but I have not had a problem with him; he is focused and he wants to get on that plane to Europe," he insists.

"To do that he needs to get on that West Ham shirt and score goals - which is what his aim is.

"It is an unfortunate misunderstanding because the chairman was talking about the end of last season and it got misconstrued, but we have addressed it and he has not been a problem to me - and I know the same goes for Trevor.

"I did have a chat with him on Wednesday, which was the first chance I had, because he was working and then with the traffic didn't get to the ground until later on Tuesday; he obviously was upset about it but he is fine now.

"He has trained very well and is looking forward to Saturday; don't get me wrong, he is upset because he doesn't feel like that and especially in the last few weeks he has been spot-on.

"Although he has had this long suspension he has been coaching the kids here and he has been an integral member of the team in the background.

"We are disappointed to have lost him for five games and it has proved costly; he has to learn from that but we welcome him back on Saturday with open arms.

"Ultimately the fans see him as a great player and he is only young; it would be great to see him grow and develop here.

"But we have got to make it attractive for him in many ways; the most important thing is to have a winning team and he has to contribute to that."