Two Good Debuts

If positives were somewhat hard to come by on Wednesday night after the 4-2 defeat at the Valley, West Ham's two debutants stood out like a beacon.

That Les Ferdinand gave an accomplished, hard-working, and - in both in defence and attack - inspirational performance will have come as no surprise to those who have followed his career, but the arrival of a man half his age, Glen Johnson, might have raised a few eyebrows amongst the Hammers faithful.

Glen, recalled early from the third month of his loan spell at Millwall recently, made his first team debut at right back for the club at a time when the tackles were flying and tensions were high.

But the youngster did not appear in the least bit nonplussed, and he says: "I was happy to make my debut but I'm not going to be too happy until the team start winning.

"I think I did all right and I didn't feel overawed."

Glen, whose mother and brother were in the crowd, had an early warning that he was going to get a game and reveals: "I was sitting next to the gaffer and I could hear him talking so I had a slight idea, but I just tried to keep a straight face.

"He said 'get warmed up and do you know who you are marking?' and that was it - I was away.

"We scored the second goal as soon as I came on, so that gave us something to try and fight for but the fourth one came - and just killed us.

"We still have to try and find that bit extra at the back - we shouldn't be conceding four goals, and if we stop doing that we will start winning games because we are still scoring goals ourselves."

Asked if he is now ready to be pitched headlong into the relegation battle, he says: "Yes, I will do my part but it is going to need everyone.

"I think we can do it, without a doubt - I have got to be confident."

And an FA Cup debut at Old Trafford? "I wouldn't mind it - hopefully I can be in the squad at least," he says modestly.

Glenn Roeder says of his performance: "It was good to get Glen Johnson on the field and in the short time he was on he didn't do himself any harm."

As for Les' debut, he says: "I was particularly pleased with his contribution in our penalty area; he made three great defensive headers and some of our defenders need to look at what he did."

Glenn is hoping Joe Cole, who missed the game, returns soon and adds: "He picked up a kick on his calf at Arsenal which we hoped he could run off in training, but we have had it scanned and he has got a haematoma on his calf; it has bled a little bit."

Joe himself adds: "I will be out for seven to 10 days - it is nothing too serious."

Meanwhile, Glenn's search for a defender has picked up pace after the departure - temporary at least - of Titi Camara, and Glenn adds: "There has been some money freed up by Titi Camara going to Saudi Arabia for four weeks and we were out last night in Europe looking at a central defender.

"I want to use that money to strengthen the defence."