Alan's Tough Week

Alan Pardew admits it has been a tough week as the injury list grows.

Christian Dailly, Andy Melville, and Bobby Zamora all miss out at the weekend and Alan says:

"You get lightning bolts in your career as a manager and we have had one of those this week.

"The Michael Carrick situation is still not resolved and the injuries to Melville and Dailly have compounded what was already a weak defensive issue, and my focus this week has been trying to bring in players for that area.

"In terms of players coming in there is no doubt that I need defenders in here; I wanted defensive cover before Christian's injury so that hasn't helped.

"But we have still got a back four that should be able to deal with things and put in a great performance at Crewe.

"We have got Maurice Ross from Rangers that we are going to look at with the possibility of a year's loan; we are going to look at each other and see how we feel.

"But we have been a bit unlucky this week in trying to bring in a couple of players that haven't come off for us.

"My point to the board and to my management is that we need to get them in and get them in quickly."

Regarding Maurice, Alan adds:

"We have obviously got good contacts in Scotland with Granty and Tommy Burns, my old manager at Reading, does the national team.

"So we have had some good shouts about him; he is a forward attacking type of full back and I think that might suit the team at the moment."

Going into further detail about the injuries, Alan explains:

"Bobby was knocking on the door big time and he has been very unlucky; he missed the first game due to an injury as he had only come back the day before we went to Leicester, and now he has got another knock that we think is going to keep him out for two or three weeks, so that is a blow.

"We have had one of those weeks this week but you get those knocks, you have to deal with them, and we have to get results on the back of weeks like this.

"We had a really poor performance Sunday and on the back of that Christian has had an operation which will leave him out for two to three months and with Bobby hurting his knee that is two impact injuries.

"Andy Melville has got an injury to his hamstring playing for Wales but there is still a performance to give on Saturday; the players that come in will have to do a sterling job.

"We have plenty of bodies for Saturday and there are no worries about that.

"As one door opens another closes and Nigel Reo-Coker and Anton Ferdinand both played very well for England U21s this week.

"Nigel stepped up the game in his brief appearance and Anton did very well so that was a bonus for us.

"Anton has been knocking on my door to play centre half and he is going to get his chance - we need him to step up now and maybe he can do that.

"When I first arrived he was obviously a year younger and young players improve considerably more than when they reach their 20s.

"He is a real specimen in terms of his athleticism; he is very quick though he can be a little casual and his concentration levels are something we have tried to teach him about, and I think he is aware of that.

"If he can eliminate those two then he is going to be a top player because he has certainly got the other attributes."

Alan knows that Anton will be compared to Rio and adds:

"I don't think that is going to help him in any shape or form; when you have got as brother who is as good as he is it is easy to say he is a lesser player.

"I think that Anton is going to be aware of that until such time as he is better than his brother, and hopefully that will happen.

"They are a very close family, Rio is there in the stand, they have great parents, and we are all wishing Anton produces a performance for us because if ever there was a time we needed a centre half performance Saturday is going to be it.

"I have seen 17, 18 year olds winning gold medals - even 15 year olds so there is no reason Anton can't do it.

"As for Nigel, I brought him in because I felt we needed some energy in the team; he is only a young boy and I knew it would take him time to settle but he has got the bit between the teeth and he feels comfortable in a West Ham shirt.

"He has to improve technically a little bit and he knows that but all the other attributes are there, he is only going to get better, and hopefully he is going to be a big, big player for us this year.

"I certainly think he will feature more than he did last year."

Alan confirms that in the absence of Christian Dailly Teddy Sheringham will carry on as skipper.

"Teddy will be captain again this week," says Alan, "and we think Steve Lomas will be training next week after a little setback this week."

Alan is not hiding his disappointment at the Wigan defeat and he adds:

"We were obviously disappointed last week, especially in the first 45 minutes; in the second half we created numerous chances and showed that against the top teams we can create.

"We would have liked to have scored more goals and there were a couple of glaring opportunities where we should have done better.

"Defensively there was no doubt it was a poor performance and we have to improve on that.

"We need to put in a performance at Crewe that the players and management can be proud of because we didn't do that on Sunday.

"We have had a really tough week, make no mistake, but in those three games we have put in a poor performance but we can't have too many of those.

"Nine or ten is all you are allowed during the season if you are going to get promotion and we have got one already on our list.

"We have to be on our guard this Saturday; we have had one poor performance but that is how we look at it because if we view it any other way we will get negative on ourselves.

"They had the disappointment of the final and the fans are looking to see some hope and we have to show that Sunday's performance was a one-off.

"If we get a win this weekend, we will have our fans, the most loyal in the country, right behind us on Tuesday against Southend."