Alan: Lomy Getting Nearer

Alan Pardew says he is is extremely pleased that Steve Lomas is progressing - and can't wait to see him playing again.

Although Steve is not yet ready for first team action - he was not in the squad for the trip to Bradford - he played a full game in the reserves against Southampton midweek and Alan says:

"We want competition and one of the real bonuses in the week was Steve Lomas playing 90 minutes.

"We have got a proven Premier League player to come back and with Rufus having his cast off now I can really start talking about these two guys with some assurance that they are now going to play before the end of the season - whereas before I couldn't.

"So that is really good news, and I think Steve will be pleased with the players we have brought in because he is a natural leader - and he will want to add his experience and his leadership qualities to them.

"We have been missing someone like him, as we know, and we have got a young 19 year old buck in Nigel Reo-Coker trying to be a Lomas - which is fantastic.

"But we also have the real deal, and Nigel will learn from him, which will be great."

Speaking ahead of the Bradford game and ready to pit his wits against Bryan Robson, he adds:

"He hasn't had very many good results and I know that will be eating into Bryan and his squad.

"Certainly you know they are going to be up for the visit of West Ham and it is a potential banana skin for us - as Gillingham was, and as Rotherham was.

"We have got to show that we are on our mettle and don't suffer one of those type of defeats."

Alan is hoping to keep his unbeaten away record with West Ham going, and he says:

"Since I have been here we haven't lost a game away so we have to say that our away form has been promotion form.

"We know that we have had issues at home and we know where our problem lies but, with the result against Rotherham, hopefully we have put that to bed."

Alan feels the squad is getting not only stronger, but nearer to the numbers he wants, and he adds:

"We have got the situation where we have a lot of players who have been signed that are not eligible for the FA cup.

"So the squad is very important, we need to keep it tight and manage it, which is not always easy - there are always going to be people disappointed.

"That is the game, and that is the the beauty of the game.

"And the beauty of success is competition."