Alan's Anton Delight

Alan Pardew is pleased that Anton Ferdinand has signed a new contract at Upton Park - and is ready to start grooming him to become, eventually, a centre half.

Anton signed a new long-term deal on Friday and Alan says:

"He has done well; he is obviously in the first team at the moment and he is a young player that could really progress for us.

"He has a contract now that would give him that time."

Anton is currently playing left back - he has also played right back for West Ham - and Alan adds:

"He is doing very well; when I was at Crystal Palace we played Richard Shaw who was mainly a right footer at left back and it worked well for us.

"Anton is doing a similar role for us; he is naturally right footed but he is two footed.

"It gives you a nice option if his stronger foot is his right foot; he can hit good balls into the front and switch the play.

"Hopefully on Saturday we can see some offensive stuff from him more than he could display at Stoke where he put in a solid defensive display."

Alan sees Anton following brother Rio's footsteps as a centre half and he adds:

"I do see him in central defence one day but I think for all young players, if they have the attributes to play at full back, it is the best place to start in because centre half is such a complicated position and you need experience in that role.

"He is in a back four and he is getting used to things - but he has to learn quick, mind, because we want to get promoted."

Alan is now turning his attentions to bringing in experience in the summer to complement his squad and he adds:

"All the young players now are signed up and the foundations here are not bad.

"Hopefully now we can bring in some really good senior players, and develop the senior players we have got into better players so we can have a serious tilt at things."