Suspensions Play A Part

Glenn Roeder says his team will have to cope with the absence of the suspended Fredi Kanoute and Joe Cole at the weekend.

Fredi starts a three match ban against West Brom following his sending off at Leeds when he clashed off the ball with Seth Johnson, and Glenn says:

"Fredi has apologised for what he did in terms of the retaliation but no one has made too much of the fact that Seth Johnson needlessly pushed him in the back, and there was no need to do that.

"But that is not condoning what Fredi did, and he was the first to admit that he was wrong; he will serve his punishment and be back for the Sunderland game and ready to go for the final eight games.

"He has still got a huge part to play in this season; he is working hard in training, he has looked excellent, but the disappointing thing is we can't use him for three games.

"One of the reasons we signed Les Ferdinand is that when Kanoute is not available we still had a physical presence in the top half of the team."

Joe Cole serves a one match suspension on account of the bookings he has accumulated, and Glenn has to ponder on who to replace him with.

"It gives someone else another opportunity, and if they play well, it gives me a problem for the following week against Tottenham," says Glenn.

"We have got players with lots of experience who have been in many big game situations, and it is going to be tense for them as well - it will be a great atmosphere.

"We have trained long enough, we have trained hard enough, we have worked on many different things, and now we have to put that into action and get a result."

Don Hutchison is hoping for some first team involvement at the Hawthorns, and Glenn adds:

"Don playing 45 minutes for Scotland the other day did him the a lot of good and he is going to get another 90 minutes for Scotland on Tuesday."

The importance of the match cannot be understated, with Bolton having earned a valuable point against Manchester United on Saturday.

Indeed, but for a late Solksaer goal, the Hammers would have had to make up eight points, plus goal difference, on Bolton.

As it is, six points is still quite a task, but would be halved by a win on Sunday.

You can play with statistics to find sequences of varying lengths amongst the bottom five that glean just three wins in 54 by those sides - of which one is West Ham's win over Blackburn, their only win in 17 league games.

"It is a huge game for us and West Brom as well, and we would rather be playing teams around us in the league because then we can do something about it; it is better that we are playing them than someone else.

"We were very disappointed to lose the game 1-0 back in September, a game we felt we should have won, but now we feel we have got our opportunity to get three points.

"Gary Megson has put together a very hardworking side that play with lots of courage and determination, and they will be a very difficult team to play against.

"We have had two weeks to prepare, training has been excellent, we have had plenty of practice on all phases of the game, and it has been good for Lee Bowyer who has had a full week's rest following the ankle injection he had immediately after the Leeds game.

"He has looked very sharp in training since then and I am looking forward to seeing his performance on Sunday."