Alan: Character Important

Alan Pardew insists he will only sign players he think have the strength of character to play for West Ham and that that is just as important as talent.

"I think that especially what has happened to us in the last 12 months that the character of a player is going to be very, very important now," he explains.

"If you start bringing in disruptive characters or people who aren't the full meal ticket then you are asking for trouble and I think we have had our fair share of them just recently - and that is what I am trying to avoid."

In the meantime, he is hoping for a change of luck with injuries and adds:

"It is a little bit worrying and I do feel that things haven't really fallen for me with personnel from the first day in when Niclas decided he didn't want to stay and went back to Everton.

"Robbie Stockdale has gone back with a hamstring and Matthew Kilgallon looks like being called back by Leeds; loaning players leaves you in this vulnerability.

"We have lost two players we didn't really want to lose and that is the gamble with taking loan players.

"I am hoping that that luck will turn and that I get in a position where I can look to put my strongest team out and everybody has to fight to get in it - and when you start doing that you start getting results."

Another thing Alan is hoping for is to score more goals from set pieces as West Ham did with Brian Deane's goal from Jermain Defoe's chipped free kick against West Brom.

"I go to grounds and I think there is a lot of criticism of set plays of teams across the board but it was pleasing to get an early one," he says.

"I do pride myself on my set plays and I would like to think that in the future we will get a bit more joy in them.

"Certainly we had a certain amount of joy with them at Reading and sometimes it is even the second phase after a set play that is important; I don't think we do that well and that is an area where there is room for improvement as well."

So Deano's goal was the result of hours of practice at Chadwell Heath?

Not quite, as Alan reveals:

"A lot of time does go in to set plays but I can assure you not one minute went into that set play.

"Jermain just used his own initiative and sometimes you have to give them the freedom to do that, certainly around the box where you can try things - I am not too structured on that.

"That was one of the benefits of that against West Brom, but with corners and wide free kicks it is something that we concentrate on - but I am taking not one bit of credit for that goal!"

As for the preparations for Watford, Alan adds:

"We will have to monitor Ian Pearce until the last minute, and I have not really had too much joy on team play with two guys also going on international duty and not coming back until Friday.

"That has been difficult for me but you have to get on with it and you get periods like this - and if you can get results during these periods of disruption all well and good, and we have to start doing that."

Christian Dailly and Don Hutchison have to bounce back after being on Scotland duty and Alan adds:

"It was a disappointing night in the way the game has panned out for them and in some ways it is hard to see a positive in it.

"Our two guys weren't really involved in the actual game although they were part of the dressing room and they will be down from the disappointment.

"Hopefully it will be out of their system and come Saturday they need to focus fully on the task in hand for us which is to get us out of this division.

"They are two massive players for us and where we are at the moment we are going to need them to play at the top of their game - and if they do it will strengthen our hand to get promoted."

Don has had somethingof a resurgence under Alan, who adds:

"He is enjoying playing for me but we haven't won yet with him and that is the bottom line for me; I think he has played in every game, but he has not won so as well as he has played he has not contributed to a win.

"The whole team structure has to be looked at to make sure we get this win and Hutch is under as much pressure as me and every other player in the team.

"I am only interested in players who are winners and in that respect although Don has been playing very well he needs to be part of a team that is playing very well and winning."

It has been a challenging start to life at Upton Park for Alan, who admits:

"I am really disappointed that I have come in and I couldn't say I have had a honeymoon period - it has been tough.

"There is stuff going on off the pitch that hasn't helped but I was under no illusions about what I was getting in to here - and I know the things I am putting in place will start bearing fruit soon and we will get this team winning sooner rather than later.

"The bottom line is that football can only be enjoyed and you can only smile around a football club when you are winning.

"We got ourselves into a fantastic position in front of a full house against the leaders the other week then we managed to throw that away in front of them.

"They won't forget that - well, some players will probably forget it easier than I will but still it hurts.

"I don't suppose too many West Ham fans were wandering around the East End with a West Ham shirt on on Sunday.

"It really bugs me and I am desperate to start putting some pride back in this club - and the only way you are going to do that is by winning things.

"We are a long, long way from that and we need to get through this transitional period and get a culture of winning here."

Kennedy Bakircioglu has returned home to Sweden following a trial at West Ham, who will not be pursuing the matter further.