Cd: Don's A Striker

Christian Dailly reckons that Don Hutchison can really make his mark on this season now he is up and running - and feels he is best suited to a striking role.

Don, who came on at Derby for Neil Mellor in the second half after just one reserve game following a calf problem sustained while on Scotland duty, made a quick impact on the game with his decisive strike to earn West Ham all three points at Pride Park.

And Scotland team mate Christian is delighted he is back in the claret and blue. "He has had a bit of a tough time recently with his injury but hopefully that will give him a big boost and he can kick on," he says.

"He needs a wee run of games and will get his chance now; it was a timely boost for him and the team with Jermain and Conners missing the next game.

"Hopefully he can keep it going, and probably being up front is his best position; he didn't just score, he won a lot of flicks as he is really dangerous in the air - everyone is delighted for him."

Trevor Brooking believes that the return of Don and Michael Carrick - and with Steve Lomas not far away - will signal greater consistency in the side.

"Steve Lomas is back in training now and is only a couple of weeks away so when you add him, Don Hutchison - who has a good football brain - and Michael Carrick to the squad and with Alan making a couple of additions suddenly towards the end of this month I think the club will have the strongest squad so far to give us a chance.

"It is really nice to have this break now and be only two points off the top.

"In the end we were very grateful to get three points out of the game when we were getting stretched in the second half.

"We took a little chance with Michael; he had two games just after I took over then had a bit of aggravation.

"He had cramp towards the end but the good news is that the injury feels fine so we just have to get him fitter.

"It was good for us that he had 75 or 80 minutes because he will be a good player for us when he is fully fit.

"It is easier to start a game and there is a difference between training and playing games; there is a reserve game during this international break and I think he will play in that one as well."

Trevor says he is relishing the role of caretaker manager - but knows that the good times are fragile.

"It is an enjoyable job when you get the results and I have to say a big thank you to the players - there is a terrific spirit here at the moment - Alan will certainly take that on board," he says.

"I have a special relationship with the fans and because of that they have got behind me and therefore the players.

"I have enjoyed it; it has been a unique situation but hopefully now when Alan comes in there will be no need for it to happen again.

"Look at Glen Hoddle at Spurs or Bobby Robson at Newcastle - it can change so quickly and I didn't want to jeopardise that; but it will be something special to look back on.

"But you are only as good as the players you send out and there are spells during matches when you turn away frustrated or shout - but that is a waste of time because nobody can hear you anyway.

"We have had a good record with seven wins out of nine but there are games when in spells we could have come unstuck, and we are not the finished article yet - and we will have to be better than we are currently to withstand some of the games coming up.

"It is encouraging to see where we are at the moment and I am relieved because I didn't know it was going to be an eight week stint when I took over.

"You end up running the risk of getting egg on your face but all I want to do from the club's point of view is be in touch of touching distance at the top.

"The three relegated clubs are doing really well so we will see how we get on."

it may be that, after all, the Norwich game is not the last one Trevor picks the side for and he explains:

"The regulations are pretty strict at the moment so he is not coming to any of the games; there is a 10 day lull before the Norwich game on the 15th and there is that strange one where he is allowed to do the Burnley game but it is going to be a bit difficult just turning up on the Saturday not having been to the training ground.

"So it is one of those we need to clarify during this break - I will definitely do Norwich and I think Alan is a little bit concerned that to turn up on Saturday and take the team will be difficult.

"So there might be a one match extension, I don't know yet.

"This week was a big week for the club though because we had nine points to go for - I was looking for a minimum of seven points from the three games.

"So to get the wins against Derby and Palace after the draw with Millwall keeps us within touching distance and will hopefully give Alan a chance to take us on."