Tony: Bow A Great Target

Tony Gale is greatly encouraged by the proposed signing of Lee Bowyer - and feels his aptitude for scoring could make all the difference for the Hammers.

With the deal close to completion, Tony feels that the goals from the middle of the park that, to some extent, dried up when Frank Lampard left, could be restored and he says:

"I think it is a good signing; I was listening to some fans saying 'yes, but we need a defender and a forward' - but I don't think he is stopping at Lee Bowyer so there is no need for panic yet.

"When a player of that quality is available to get him is good work; not only is he a midfield player but he is one that scores goals, and attacking the situation is the way we are going to get out of it.

"Of course we have made defensive mistakes this year and people will be saying we need a centre back but we have got four there and I think maybe we can get by with that.

"If we can get the striker to add to the midfield scoring player I think maybe we can score the goals to see us safe this season.

"And, of course, what people don't understand is, by playing Lee Bowyer there, it frees up Trevor Sinclair to play up front."

But Tony is still convinced another forward will come in and he adds:

"I think we will get a striker, I don't know about two - and don't forget we have got Paolo coming back and hopefully Fredi coming back sooner than expected."

But does Tony feel any off-field matters that get dragged up will affect his time at Upton Park?

"I don't think so; hopefully everybody can forgive and forget," says Tony "and I think he has got on with his game very well since the court situation at Leeds.

"I think he will be coming away from it, and he will be shielded from it a little bit by coming to West Ham, rather than being at Leeds and reminded of it all the time - so maybe getting away will do him a bit of good."

Whether Lee stays beyond the end of the season remains to be seen, but Tony adds:

"The key is obviously if we stay up, and then Glenn might think about bringing in Lee permanently; but realistically you would think there will be loads of offers coming from in from abroad in the summer and there will be rich pickings, as there is no transfer fee involved.

"Perhaps it will be a five month job only - but if he does his job for us we will be well pleased."

Meanwhile, Wednesday's reserve game at Portman Road has been postponed because of the bad weather forecasted and the fact that Ipswich's pitch has hosted three games in a week.

Elsewhere, Vladimír Labant, who recently returned to Sparta Prague on loan, has broken his ankle in his first training session since rejoining them.

The Slovakian international suffered the injury during an aerobics session in the gym and he will be out of action for around five weeks, thus missing the start of the Czech season.