Trevor's Plea

Trevor Brooking has called on the players to - metaphorically, at least - "lay down their lives" in the club's cause for the remainder of the season.

Looking at the first of the final 11 games in the run-in to the end of the season, he says:

"It will be a battle, a scrap, a cup tie, or whatever you want to call it.

"The frustration is every game in the last month has been one where you are looking for the big turning point - and you can't keep seeing games go by without it happening.

"It is really about starting to pick up results ourselves and then everything gets more relevant - we have to take the initiative ourselves and make sure we get the points.

"Whatever happens on Sunday we have to work; look at Arsenal against Manchester United recently - they really did that, including Francis Jeffers, who is not renowned for his tackling.

"Quite frankly that is going to be the order of the day for the remaining games, and what you want to see is your side laying their lives down, really.

"If they do that and the win doesn't happen, then you come away and think at least you can see they are giving their all in the match, and that has to be the priority.

"If the worst case scenario happened and they were to lose the game, at least we could be saying they were unlucky, and 'how on earth did they lose it?'

"You don't want a case of it looking as if they weren't going to get in the game - this has to be a match where you match them for effort and that technical ability can hopefully come to the fore.

"But it is not going to be pretty and it is going to be a case of working to the maximum to get something from the match.

"Everyone says these matches against the lower sides are key; Bolton nearly got a crucial win over West Brom a fortnight ago but West Brom did deserve an equaliser.

"Their home form has not been bad, they don't concede too many goals, and they will throw lots of balls in the air.

West Ham go into the game with Fredi Kanoute and Joe Cole suspended - the only other absentee being Nigel Winterburn, recovering from a wrist injury - and Trevor adds:

"It was frustration for Fredi having started his first game and worked such a long time to get fit, to react in that way was annoying.

"The way the fixture unfold it spreads itself over another month, so it is not as if you can get the three games out of the way quickly, and he will miss a quarter of the remaining games.

"Fredi is sometimes too laid back and not aggressive enough, and although Seth Johnson did push him in the back you have got to rely on the officials to spot that.

"It will be frustrating for Joe to miss out as well but there is plenty of experience available and I don't think it will be a game for the faint-hearted.

"It is a crucial game as they all are, but the Leeds game was a bit of a blow, with them being without the likes of Viduka, Kewell, and Smith, and it looked a bit of a decent time to go there.

"The goal was a bit of a deflection as well, then Joe was a bit unlucky in the second half hitting the post and then having a shot saved that would have gone in a yard either side of the goalkeeper.

"It was one of those matches that was annoying not to come out of something from."