Fingers Crossed

Glenn Roeder fervently hopes that there will be no injuries as the Hammers kick off their preseason campaign at Bournemouth on Tuesday evening.

"It is our first preseason of this year," he says, "and in past seasons we have started with a non-league team and built up slowly.

"But we have chosen Bournemouth because they are a good footballing team and have deservedly won promotion to the second division.

"I am looking forward to going down to their new stadium which I have not seen yet, and we are looking to get 60 or 70 minutes from our senior players.

"I wouldn't want to risk them much further than that in the first game; I am very conscious of not picking up injuries when there are only a dozen seniors at this particular moment in time; that will change, I am very hopeful of that.

"There will be the opportunity for the likes of Anton Ferdinand and Elliot Ward, Youssef Sofiane, Shaun Byrne, and David Noble - we have these youngsters and as far as they are concerned it will be a big opportunity.

"We are working on the fitness side of our game but with all the training in the world there is nothing like actually playing in games.

"Hopefully we will come through it unscathed and hopefully everyone who travels will play a part in the game."