Paul: I'd Rather Play

Paul Goddard admits that the agonies of watching a game from the bench, especially in the current predicament, make him pine for his playing days again.

West Ham are looking for a first 'double' of this season - which would also, incidentally, give Sunderland a fifth 'double' reverse, the worst record in the Premiership of home and away defeats after they have already lost twice to Everton, Southampton, Middlesbrough and Fulham.

If the Hammers do win it will only be the second since the league fixture was first contested in 1923, the year of the 'White Horse' FA Cup final, the first at Wembley.

The only other home and away League success over the Wearsiders was in the 1984/85 season with two 1-0 wins.

After the same score line at the Stadium Of Light earlier in the campaign, West Ham then kept two Premiership clean sheets in a row when subsequently beating Fulham away by the same margin.

That was the only successive pair of clean sheets until the games with Spurs and Everton, and it was the only time the Hammers lifted themselves out of the bottom three, but a win at the weekend would have the same effect - at least for a couple of days.

Bolton do not play until Monday, when they face Spurs at home. All of which adds to the tension, and Paul reveals that the stresses and strains of being a coach are excruciating compared to playing.

"It is much worse; I sat and talked to Les last week when he came off at Everton - and he did magnificently - looking at the last few minutes of the game and Wayne Rooney went on a little run across the face of goal where we have seen him to be so dangerous," he says.

"This time we managed to snuff it out but it was a close call, and I remember Les turning to me and I said to him 'don't be a coach, it is far worse than being a player'.

"When you play you can actually affect what happens on the day, but as a coach your effect is limited.

"You have very much a support role - it is all about players, and it is much more anxious as a coach."

As for whether Les plays on next season, Paul adds:

"That is a decision for Les to make but he has been great for us - he has been wonderful around the training ground and is an excellent pro with a lot of experience.

"Les loves playing football and he will make his decision at the end of the season after weighing up his options."