Alan: Should Be A Cracker

Alan Pardew predicts a cracking game against Wigan on Saturday as he chases that first win as manager of West Ham.

"It is 'kids for a quid' and I think that is always a fantastic idea; there will be a great atmosphere there and we are keen to get our season up and running with the win - and give the kids something to shout about," he says.

"I have to be honest, from what we have seen, and with the reports we have had, they are one of the strongest teams we have come across.

"They are 4-4-2, very aggressive, very in your face, and forward thinking.

"They won't come and set their stall out to defend, they will come and have a go at us so it is going to be a test for us but that is what we want.

"Sometimes teams do come and defend deep and make it difficult for you, but I think the lads will enjoy this game and hopefully we will get the win on top of the performance.

"Make no mistake, this is a good team that plays almost with two strikers as wide players with two central midfield players that want to get forward.

"Fair play to them, they are having a go at everyone they are playing against and they will be no exception with us."

As for that first victory under Alan, he says:

"They are all as disappointed as I am that we haven't got the result but they have trained well, there is no lack of confidence about the place and there is no need for that.

"We are playing okay - it is just our reactions to setbacks which has been a problem in the last couple of games and we hope to have sorted that out now."

Robbie Stockdale returns from a hamstring problem that has hampered his month-long loan spell from Middlesbrough which is due to expire after Saturday's game.

"Robbie has come back so that is another option for me; he hasn't played for a while but we will have to see what I do with him," says Alan.

"But he gives us another body and more competition and the more we have the better."

Meanwhile, regarding Trevor Brooking's imminent departure from the club to take up a role for the F.A. as Director of Football Development in the new year, Alan says:

"I think it's a great move by the F.A. and it's fantastic for Trevor; English football is taking a bit of a 'ruck' at the moment and he's just the person to address a few of those issues.

"If you look at the success of the rugby union set-up you'd have to say the link between the national side and the clubs has been really co-operative and resulted in the ultimate success - and I don't think I'm speaking out of turn to say that isn't quite the same in our game.

"I think Trevor will bring some sense to that - he will do a great job liasing between Sven-Goran Eriksson and the clubs, and he will bring common sense and dignity to the role.

"Obviously he has to sever his links with West Ham but he was very reassuring about my role at West Ham when he told me he was leaving, and said if I ever wanted him he's at the end of the phone."

Matthew Etherington, although in the squad, is almost certain not to be fit enough to play, while Rob Lee returns to the fray after injury which has ruled him out for the last two games.

SQUAD: James, Bywater, Lee, Repka, Dailly, Hutchison, Carrick, Horlock, Connolly, Pearce, Harewood, Noble D, Mullins, Etherington, Dean, Quinn, Garcia, Ferdinand, Stockdale, McMahon, Sofiane.