Tony: Give Alan Time

Tony Gale believes that Alan Pardew needs to be given time to get things 'in his own image' at Upton Park.

"It won't happen overnight and Alan has not had time to implement his ideas and settle in his new signings," says Tony "and get them really integrated into the squad to get them used to the other new players and the ones that were already there.

"It will take time as it does with every new manager but unfortunately he is not going to have time on his side because I think the expectancy with West Ham is that we should get back into the Premiership with the squad we have got.

"He is going to have a little bit of pressure on him but he is a tough lad and he knows what it is all about.

"The draws continue and it a shame that the lads couldn't play at the high tempo they did in the Spurs game against Coventry - because I think that would be enough to get them regular wins in the first division.

"It was obviously not there against Coventry in what was not the best of games.

"If they can get that win against West Brom it is three points against one of the sides that are going to be up there.

"For me it is West Brom as champions and I still think that once Alan gets them playing we can knock off about six or seven wins on the trot in what is a very ordinary league.

"We are one of the few sides, along with West Brom, who can put a run together.

"It is West Brom slightly stronger than us and maybe us as runners up; I think they are the team to beat because they have kept all their squad from last season and added to it this season.

"They should be a stronger outfit and they play a physically demanding game direct into the strikers and when they are playing badly it is not as noticeable as when a footballing side is playing badly.

"Funnily enough in the Premiership I thought they were a poor side and didn't play enough football and if they do get up they will have to rejig their ideas about how to stay up there.

"Jason Koumas is obviously the star of their team and one of the few players that is Premiership quality and he has had a couple of injury problems which hasn't helped them.

"He is one that is going to be around the Premiership next season even if West Brom don't go up."

Tony feels that Alan is not going to intrinsically change the way West Ham play, and adds:

"I think everyone expects West Ham to play a style of football and I think Alan is aware of that as well.

"He played a good footballing style at Reading but it is harder to get results in this division playing that way.

"If you are good enough three or four passes gets you through the defence and I am still of the opinion that it is not the best; people say it is a hard league to get out of but only bad teams say that."

He feels Don Hutchison will be influential and adds:

"Hutch had his best game for a long, long time against Spurs; the big occasion brought the best out of him and he brought people into play.

"Michael Carrick will form a great partnership with Hayden Mullins; they both have the legs, passing ability, and the all round strength and once they get a good understanding their ability will shine through."

As for a prediction, he adds:

"I think it is going to be a tight game and I would have to get my Trevor Brooking hat on, not as a manager but as a pundit, sit on the fence - and say it will be a draw!"