Trevor: Pards Will Recruit

Trevor Brooking says there are sure to be new arrivals at the club when Alan Pardew takes over later in the month.

Trevor is not looking to bring in any more loans if he can possibly help it, leaving Alan to come in, assess the squad, and make his own judgments.

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"I am sure Alan must be watching the videos and making one or two conclusions as a result of that about where he needs to tinker with two or three players to come in," he says.

"So it is a balance of holding up where we are at the moment and feeling in a month's time we should be that bit stronger - and can really step up a gear from there.

"That is not to say we haven't done well up to now but you feel there should be more to come; I am conscious of that and I am sure the more competition anyone can get, the better."

That competition should come from without, as well as within, the squad, and Trevor adds:

"We have had nine games and Michael has played two matches while Steve hasn't played any - those two will be a big plus once they are fit.

"We need two or three other options to add that little bit of weight where it is becoming apparent we probably need it.

"It will be in the end Alan that makes that decision, though obviously we will have a discussion about it at some stage.

"In a month's time I am sure we will have stronger competition than we have at the moment."

One consequence of increased competiton may be losing the 4-3-3 system, and Trevor adds:

"It is a learning process in both areas but naturally you can't afford to learn for too long if you are going to drop points.

"It is a balance, tinkering with it at the moment, to see if it can work on a sustained spell and make sure we don't leave ourselves exposed down one flank.

"That said, against Millwall, we couldn't even get out with the 4-4-2, though it gave us a better shape.

"It was too big a gap between the midfield and the two front lads; it just kept coming straight off them, so again, it is balancing up the right options and personnel to play the different systems rather than try to build them around what you have got.

"But three sometimes does work as it did at Cardiff and we just have to make decisions during games until we have got the depth of squad that we really want to go with - and stick with a certain shape on a longer term basis."

The 4-3-3 is particularly tough on Rob Lee, and Trevor recognises that, adding:

"We have got to be conscious of that and if you are playing a three particularly on his side you are asking a lot when, down our right, he has got to keep coming out if the full back comes out.

"So we have to balance it up this week and have a look.

"Palace at home is a chance to try and get three points after dropping two against Millwall, and then it is a very different game against a vast improving Derby - the way they are playing at the moment, having been unlucky to only draw 1-1 against Nottingham Forest, and winning at Bradford which I saw, they are going into our game on the back of five matches unbeaten.

"That will be a tough game and we want to make sure that we approach the Derby game with confidence after a good result against Palace."

Trevor is conscious that, especially at home, West Ham are not scoring enough goals, and he adds:

"We need to make it happen this season; as to what personnel and shape we are going to achieve that with we will have to wait and see.

"We have had chances in the Bradford and Reading games and even against Millwall but we again only one got tucked away - and one of the harder ones at that.

"We need to improve on that because if we are going to have aspirations of going up we need to be able to score more consistently than we are at the moment.

"More than anything we need an improved performance because it is four games at home with only three league goals and that is not the ratio you are going to get promotion on the back of."

Michael Carrick did not quite make the squad for the Palace game, but could well be involved at Derby in one way or another.

"Michael is not far away, I have not given up hope of Steve Lomas being available for Norwich and Hutch is coming back from his calf problem a little bit," says Trevor.

But the upcoming one match ban of David Connolly at Norwich, when Jermain is also out, is a headache.

It follows David's booking against Millwall and Trevor adds:

"It one of those where it just flared up a bit; we could have done without it but with two derbies I suppose it was always a gamble if he could get through unscathed.

"It is something we are going to have to deal with as we are at Derby without Jermain; we will still have Conners and Richard Garcia available for that one and we have just got to use that as an opportunity to see whether our cover can do a job for us or whether we have to get additions in the loan situation."

Of the Millwall game as a whole - and the fact that it passed by peacefully - he says:

"There was a good noise in the stadium and it was a good derby atmosphere - but it will be a different type of game against Crystal Palace.

"It is six crucial points at stake this week and then Norwich after the break.

"They are in the top half a dozen and I saw them beat Palace at the weekend; they have three loan signings in Harper from Portsmouth, Crouch from Villa, and Huckerby from City.

"That will be a difficult game but we can approach it more positively if we have emerged from the two this week, and by then I am hoping Steve and Michael will give us more options anyway.

Speaking ahead of the Palace game, Trevor concludes:

"I have seen them recently; they won the first three matches to go top; I saw them against Sunderland and at Norwich where they lost goals in the last minute and in the first half both those games they were certainly the better side.

"With the likes of Shipperley, Johnson, and Freedman, as far as attacking goes they are quite lively.

"So we will have to keep our concentration on those and they have scored quite a few away from home; they will be a little bit fragile because of the little run they have had.

"But they will be using the derby as a little platform to get them going again and we have to make sure we don't allow that to happen.

"We have to step up from a below par performance on Sunday and if we can get ahead early that will relax everyone.

"We are six points away from the top but we want to minimise that with our two matches, and having dropped two points against Millwall we have to make sure we don't lose any more so we can go into the Derby game much more upbeat.

"You just have got to lick your wounds and accept that you weren't at your best - and make sure it is a one off and bounce back as we did after the Gillingham game at Cardiff."