Paolo's Back

Paolo Di Canio returned to action on Thursday as West Ham drew 0-0 with Colchester United at Chadwell Heath in a behind closed doors friendly.

Paolo, who had just returned from a prolonged - and successful - period of rehabilitation in Bologna, opted to swap shirts, but not positions, with Tomas Repka before the game.

And so it was that his first football for some time on these shores was is an unfamiliar number two shirt - while Tomas, who completes his four match ban on Sunday, missing out on the FA Cup fourth round clash at Old Trafford, wore number 10.

Paolo's return means he can now step up his rehab at Chadwell Heath.

The game, arranged because two recent reserve games have been postponed, also afforded Don Hutchison a 90 minute run out.

Trialist Robert Dickinson, from Ipswich, also got a run under the watchful eye of Glenn Roeder - and was instantly given the moniker 'Scholesy' on account of his red hair.

The reserves haven't played since mid-December, when a lack of numbers necessitated the return to action in a West Ham shirt after a decade of Kevin Keen.

On that decision, Glenn explains: "We couldn't possibly risk anyone that we thought could possibly be involved at Christmas, which is why we had to ask Kevin Keen to play in the game.

"Incidentally, he did very well and showed everyone, particularly the young ones, that he has still got a bit to offer.

"I think we were all hugely disappointed with him getting booked for dissent, though; maybe that will cost him 10% of his salary, the statutory fine!

"Maybe he will have to come and see me about that...

"But, kidding aside, that is how far we were stretched, but Kevin has a fantastic attitude to life and he jumped at the chance when we asked him, and he responded by playing his part in a decent game.

"I think he was that tired after the game he has made it a one-off - he needed two days off!

"The team was very young and I certainly know a lot more about Darren Blewitt now; he gave a fine performance, as did young Tommy Laws when he came on.

"Anton Ferdinand also gave a very assured performance.

"Brent Rahim, who has left us now, was asked to play as a striker which he has never done before, and they all had a go - the team spirit showed through.

The reserve game at Ipswich, postponed from Wednesday, 8th January, will now be played on Wednesday, 16th April, while the home game, scheduled for Tuesday, 15th April, will now be played on Wednesday, 19th March.

Team: Bywater [Forde 45], Schemmel [McClenahan 45], Repka, Iriekpen, Tattum [McMahon 45], Byrne, Dickinson, Hutchison, Di Canio, McCann [Garcia 45], Sofiane [Mehmet 73].