Trevor: What's What

Trevor Brooking hopes to have Michael Carrick back after another operation some time next week - while Don Hutchison should also resume training soon.

Talking of the op for Michael, Trevor reveals:

"It was just a little thing to release something; he seems to be fine and I think he will surface at some stage next week, so I am hopeful he will be playing in one of our three games next week.

"He had the hernia operation in the summer but when you have been out playing three or four months you get one or two related injuries, and it was just a little tightness further along in an adductor that needed to be released.

"It was exactly what they thought it was so now we are hoping he should be motoring along and we should get three dozen games out of him this season - and if we do I think we will be very close to going up, because I think he is going to be a big player in this league.

"To hang in there as we are doing at the moment with Steve not playing a game and Michael only playing two is very encouraging for what is ahead."

Don Hutchison could be back soon as well, and Trevor adds:

"Hutch has a calf problem that he picked up with Scotland but he will probably have a reserve game next week and what we have to do is get him match fit and able to cope with the physical demands of this division." Anton Ferdinand covered in right midfield on Tuesday and Trevor adds:

"You need a blend of a team and in midfield Anton did very well at Cardiff with his athleticism; Hutch can also do an attacking job for us because he can play off the main strikers and he is very aware - so he should be useful for Alan when he is back and fully fit."

Speaking ahead of the Millwall encounter, Trevor adds:

"Rob has a chance for the Millwall game and we will wait and see at the last minute; he could have done with a rest anyway for the Cardiff game because he thought he was one of the people who could come in with his experience, but of course with Michael and Steve out he has almost been a regular, and he has been excellent.

"We hope he will be back for the Millwall game but he will definitely figure in the next three games at some stage.

"Niclas Alexandersson is available again, so that was five good midfield players missing at Cardiff on Tuesday and made the comeback particularly pleasing."

Trevor is backing Jermain Defoe to stay with the club and continue scoring after his hat trick on Tuesday at Cardiff, and he says:

"In the end it is down to him; he was in the headlines for a variety of reasons in the summer, was he going to stay or go, but he wants to score goals.

"He had a difficult game at Gillingham but you do look for a reaction and he matured terrifically in the space of a couple of days.

"He is going to get the media and opposing fans giving him stick but if he copes with that we will all be very happy.

"In the Premiership there are so many big names at every club but of course with West Ham having got relegated we are a scalp as are individuals within our team.

"J has got to get used to that and within a week we have seen the whole range of headlines that you can achieve and I am sure he will want to get them for the right reasons.

"He is only a young lad who has had to learn a lot over the last few months and more than that he just want to play football and wants to score goals.

"From the fans' point of view they saw he worked hard in other areas not just the penalty area and he wants nothing more than for the fans to be behind him and encouraging him to produce the goals so hopefully that is what will happen.

"You have got to leave that option open and once that shop window closed at the end of August it confirmed to everyone that he is staying and if he scores the goals West Ham will be very close to what we want to achieve this season.

"I have got to help him as does Alan when he takes over and the other players and fans have to help - but he has also got to help himself for all of us to respond to him and give the help he wants.

"If he continues as he did against Cardiff everyone will be right behind him; the speculation might flare up in January but hopefully with everyone doing well, Alan will have been there a while by then, and with the side in contention, there shouldn't even be any question that we just motor on and achieve the targets we want to achieve."

But Trevor was delighted with all of the players on Tuesday and adds:

"It was a good reaction but it will only be enjoyed, to be honest, if we do well in the next three games with two at home.

"At Cardiff we just had the three, so we had the defence a bit more exposed when you play that system; if you look at our defensive record it is still only five goals in eight matches which is probably as good as anyone in the league.

"But they would be the first to admit that it comes from the forwards and the midfield as well, so it is a balancing act and we have been very lucky that the defensive unit has been good.

"We are just integrating Wayne into the left back slot and that early goal at Cardiff and the second one at Gillingham were a bit soft from our point of view - but generally I have been pleased with the defence."

On the Cardiff game as a whole, he says:

"We started a bit sluggishly in the first 15 minutes in particular with a soft goal when they got past Wayne on the right side which was too easy - and Rob Earnshaw got in the position to tuck one away.

"I think our passing was starting to get better but then Earnshaw got a terrific goal, to be fair, and I knew we were in trouble the moment it left his foot.

"At 2-0 it was asking a lot of questions of us but I thought we actually passed the ball really well up to half time without getting the goal.

"To be two down at half time would have been a bit unlucky, but once we got the penalty it was a case of trying then to pick it up where we left off, because if we did I felt we could get something from the game.

"It took us five or 10 minutes but for the next 35 minutes we really went at them and, although the winner was with three minutes to go, I think it was nothing less than we deserved - and their keeper did well for them.

"What I can assure you is that as a manager you can't see anything there and I honestly thought it was a certainty at the time - but at half time it was said to be questionable.

"If you look at it from one side it looks as if Conners has slipped, and if you look at the other it looks as if he has clipped his heel.

"Whether that is a foul or not, who knows? But he was in a dangerous position and we were pleased to get it because we needed a goal before half time - and I think we warranted one.

"The strange thing is that having given the penalty why wasn't a card shown, because he is clear on goal?

"I couldn't believe that, though I don't want it to happen - if he has given a penalty he has to follow it up with a card, but anyway it is all history now.

"I thought David did very well again although J got the headlines with his hat trick, and Neil worked very hard as well.

"I think it was Conners who set up J's winner and two or three games ago the media tried to make a bit about the strikers being individuals - but I think we certainly saw against Cardiff that they do work together."

As for who will take penalties if West Ham are awarded one in the absence of Jermain Defoe when he is banned - and in the light of there being no Paolo Di Canio, Trevor Sinclair, or Fredi Kanoute at Upton Park any more - Trevor says:

"I would have thought that Conners fancies it and he is next in line."

As for the Milwall game, Trevor adds:

"It is a tense game and the first of two home derbies on the trot; form goes out of the window in these games because they can be unpredictable.

"Millwall are just a point behind us so it is important and Denis Wise is a player we know, of course; Ifill is quite dangerous on the right, Peeters is there to offer an aerial threat, and Cahill has a really good spring even though he is not the tallest.

"But we are trying to impose our own strengths as well and I am sure the fans will be behind us; we have only had three league games at home with just the two 1-0 wins and I would like to feel that in one of the two games we can show some of the attacking form that we did at Crewe and Cardiff.

"I enjoyed these games when we won; we want to try and maximise the situation before the 10 day lull and I feel if we play as we can we can be in a better position but the games come thick and fast and you have to be on top of your game consistently.

"It is midday on a Sunday and hopefully the fans will come to enjoy the game; okay, there has been feeling in the past but it is at the stage of the season where it is not going to decide matters one way or the other and more than anything you just want a good game of football, hopefully a result and the confidence to from it, and let's move on.

"I am sure there will be a focus of attention but I hope everyone will think of the club and behave as we all hope.

"It's important for the players not to get involved, because obviously sometimes it can aggravate them what happens away from the pitch.

"Any game has its possibilities, but we're trying to make our football do the talking; all derby games have an atmosphere and they can be unpredictable.

"We want the football to catch the headlines rather than any ill-feeling off the pitch; any London derby has a little bit of extra feeling, and I'm sure our game against Crystal Palace next week will have that additional edge as well - so I don't consider one more worrying than the other.

"There's always that little bit of extra pride at stake; one or two incidents have happened in the past, but that's in the past as far as I'm concerned - we've got a different group of lads now, and so have they."

Trevor is delighted with the form of Christian Dailly of late and adds:

"He is a player you really like to do well in a game because he has a great attitude, is a terrific trainer, and has a good character.

"He is an ideal captain and I am really pleased he is captain because he is leading the side very well and is in good form; you want someone like that doing the job because he deserves it."

And he insists he does not feel Alan Pardew is looking over his shoulder, adding:

"I am sure he is aware of what is going on and the next three games will be very important.

"He will look at the shape, the depth of the squad, and the players have to convince him they are right to be there; if the players get the right results they will go half way to that but in the end it will be Alan's decision.

"But it will be a lot to play for for the players, with a new man coming in."

Millwall, incidentally, have played 19 times against West Ham - and never won a league game at Upton Park.