Glenn's New Face

Glenn Roeder has added another face to the training ground - on a part time basis at least - and hopes it continues to yield results.

His name is Alan Pearson, an imposing figure who Hammers fans may have noticed recently out on the field before matches.

Explaining his complementary role to the existing medical and sports science staff, Glenn says: "I worked with Alan Pearson on what is called an SAQ course, which is basically about quick feet, sharp movement, agility, and co-ordination all done in quite small areas.

"He impressed me a couple of years ago when I was on one of those courses. He works out of Melton Mowbray and comes from a sporting background, having been a top rugby player in Australia who had to retire with a neck injury.

"We have brought Alan in as a different face, a different voice, someone who is very bubbly, and the players have taken to him.

"He has come in on recent matches and taken part in the warm-ups on the pitch and in training sessions.

"He is a very good guy who is worth having on your side, and he has basically proved to us that the old-fashioned idea of going on the training ground for a few laps to warm up is exactly that - old-fashioned.

"The lads warm up in quite small areas now but it is all about sharpness and movement, your brain working with your legs."

Glenn has seen the benefits of Alan's presence on the training ground, and adds: "When he warms them up for 15 or 20 minutes and they come over to me for the first football practice of the morning they are really revved up and ready to go.

"He is a smashing character, physically a big man - with a big personality.

"Our players have linked into him ever so well, and responded in a manner that when I am getting them they are coming over in a very positive manner.

"That will be our target and I believe that whether we are home or away, with the importance of the last eight games, it won't make a difference in terms of the motivation."

Physio John Green adds: "There is no doubt that the warm-ups and warm-downs that we have seen recently from Russell Holman, the strength specialist at the club, and the guy that has appeared recently, Alan Pearson, from a company called SAQ - who has started to do the warm-ups before the game - has injected a certain commitment and collectivity into the lads."

John praises Glenn Roeder's willingness to look at forward thinking procedures, and adds: "At the moment the manager agrees we just try everything. Everyone has to be looking to change what they are doing and be prepared to adapt to the circumstances that we have found ourselves in.

"The warm-ups and warm-downs and appropriate training is led from the top by the manager.

"At the end of the day we can advise as much as we like, as we have done in the past with previous managers.

"But if they are not prepared to listen, the changes that we are advocating don't occur, but with the manager we have currently he listens to what we have got to say.

"He has his own opinion and sometimes we have to submit to that but in the main he listens to the professional people that he has got around him.

"Alan is a big character in every way; he is 6' 5", extremely well qualified in his field, an ex-heavyweight boxing champion of this country, and he also played rugby for Australia against the All Blacks and others.

"He has got a great background in strength and conditioning but mainly he has that team spirit, collective personality which the lads have really warmed to."

John has also worked with Alan before, and adds: "While Glenn was a coach here under Harry Redknapp he and I went on SAQ courses in the Midlands that Alan was running, and that is where the link was forged.

"So obviously Glenn has known Alan a long time through the courses we have done in the past in preparation.

"All of the coaching staff here, and most of the academy staff, have done it, so that all of the boys are trained and prepared in the same way."

Explaining more of the methods involved, he adds: "The main thing is you don't build stamina for football by doing long runs, you build appropriate stamina for football by doing repeated sprints, which is what the game is all about.

"So there is a lot of resistance and assistance training done with elastic, bungees and things like that, and a lot of jumping work done to improve the spring of the players.

"And rather than inappropriate running which they don't need at this time of the season, specific programmes have been set for certain players like Michael Carrick, Glen Johnson, Joe Cole, Jermain Defoe, and Les Ferdinand.

"Someone like Les at 36, a lot of clubs will back off him, but the most appropriate thing to do is make him aware of the type of training that he can do and that he needs to do.

"That is short, sharp bursts to improve and maintain the excellent spring that he has got already, and to improve his first 10 yards.

"We are not interested in him becoming a 200m or 300m runner but we want him to be good over 10 yards - and if he gets a yard on someone then that is enough.

"It is a different face and a different voice; it has been a long season and it is important to inject something into the team.

"He is coming down in the latter stages of each week now, doing specific work with the players, and travelling to the games home and away, which will continue until the end of the season."