Plenty Of Positives

Alan Pardew says there were a lot of good things to come out of the win over Southend - and the injury situation is looking up, too.

"There were three or four making their debuts and we got two goals at home - there were a lot of positives," he says.

"I thought James Walker in goal on his debut showed that he deserved the chance in the big time earlier than he has got at West Ham - and he will be pushing Stephen for a spot.

"Trent McClenahan on his home debut did very well; that back four had not even had a training session together.

"Big Elliot Ward came back from Peterborough to go alongside Tomas Repka and Rufus Brevett and at times they were a little bit disorganised - but in terms of the game I couldn't have asked for any more than they gave me; we got a clean sheet, and I was very pleased with Elliot.

"The midfield with Adam Nowland and Nigel Reo-Coker worked hard; they would have liked to have played better but they did okay.

"Chris Cohen, in only the fourth or fifth game in, showed the little bits of quality he has got, but he has played better than that, while up front I thought Sergei Rebrov and Marlon Harewood did well."

Marlon grabbed the brace that won the game - opening his account for the season - and Alan adds:

"Those goals were important to him and I can forgive him being a little bit greedy on the second one - he could have slipped it to Chris to get a goal.

"But he was terrific at Crewe and has had one bad game for us, against Wigan - other than that he has been right on it this year, and it is good that he has got his goals.

"Hopefully he is going to secure that place, but he has got such competition because Sergei and Bobby will be fit soon.

"He is at the point of our attack, and there are things he can do better, but he is only young and he will get those.

"He is a real handful which is why I am constantly getting phone calls about him - and I am knocking them back because I would like to think he is going to have a great season for us."

Although the early goal did not trigger the feast of goals the fans would have hoped for against a side in the bottom division, Alan insists there are mitigating circumstances.

"You have got to remember that a lot of those Southend players have got 200 or 300 league games under their belt and we had guys who hadn't even played 10 games in the reserves.

"We have got an injury crisis as it stands without Anton Ferdinand, Hayden Mullins, Steve Lomas, Christian Dailly, Don Hutchison, Andy Melville - and I think any team coping with that in the first division hasn't done bad.

"We certainly need to strengthen in one or two areas and we are looking everywhere."

Explaining why Teddy Sheringham was on the bench, Alan says:

"We have got a game on Saturday and Monday; I couldn't afford for him to play on Tuesday, and Saturday and Monday - I think that would have been a tall order for him.

"I don't see why he can't play for two games at the weekend - we will have to wait and see how he feels.

"His presence on the field when he came on helped us when a few of our younger boys were getting a bit stressy; he comes in and adds that little bit of quality and he is going to be very important to us this year."

Alan is pleased with two wins on the trot after the loss against Wigan and he says:

"I honestly felt there were some things we fundamentally did wrong against Wigan and we managed to correct them at Crewe.

"I am hoping this is going to be a point from where we get stronger.

Looking to the double-header weekend and the games against Burnley and Coventry, he says:

"I think Anton, Hayden, and Matthew will be fit; Steve Lomas is going to have a chance of being involved at the weekend so he will be a massive player for us to have back - and Melville could be back so we are going to be a lot stronger on Saturday, for sure."

In the absence of Steve Lomas, Nigel Reo-Coker has enjoyed and extended run and Alan says:

"Nigel has been given his wings this year to stay in the team and come through for us; last year was a period for him to bed in."

His maginificent run led to the setting up of the first goal and Alan adds:

"He is only 19 and for once he ran away from the midfield, which he can do, and he has timed his pass perfectly.

"The only thing that has let him down in the last few games has been that final pass and if he gets that right there are not that many midfield players that can live with him in this division."

Alan says that Southend deserve some praise for their performance and adds:

"I would say that Southend were a credit because they stuck at their task, they haven't had a win yet, but if things had been different they could have taken it into extra time.

"Fair play to them and their staff - they were terrific."