Pards Pleased

Alan Pardew believes that the transfer which saw Andy Melville and Ian Pearce swap places between West Ham and Fulham was a significant deal for West Ham.

While it was the Jermain Defoe - Bobby Zamora switch which gained more column inches, Alan insists that the less publicised move for Andy, with Ian going the other way, was at least as important to his strategy.

"I think that was perhaps the biggest transfer that I have done in terms of the quality of player that I have brought back in," he explains, "and the money that we have saved in wages - as well as the fee coming our way.

"It was massive, a real big bonus for us."

Andy is, of course, cup-tied for the Fulham game, Jon Harley is ineligible as he is still on loan from Fulham, and Bobby Zamora as well as the former Wimbledon trio Jobi McAnuff, Nigel Reo-Coker and Adam Nowland are also cup-tied.

But Alan is building up the squad and he insists:

"It gives other people a chance and that is what this competition is all about.

"Sometimes when the opportunity comes along you have got to take it - and there will be a few who get the opportunity this weekend.

"It's like an Alex Ferguson situation - I've got a team for the league and a team for the cup, which is nice, and the guys who are not involved will be rooting for the guys who are playing."

Alan used to watch Fulham as a youngster and adds:

"My dad used to take me when I was 10 years old up the away end - because there were never any away fans there at the time.

"It was my first real introduction to professional football and I used to enjoy it.

"When I became a teenager I became a Chelsea fan to fit in with the other boys, but when George Best and Rodney Marsh turned up I was a Fulham fan again for a little while.

"They've always been a great club and what's happened to them has been unbelievable - I've got my fingers crossed that the chairman Mohamed Al Fayed stays there and keeps it going."

Alan is a former team mate of Chris Coleman from his Crystal Palace days and he jokes:

"I know Chris well; I wasn't in his drinking school at Palace though - he was bottomless and he must have hollow legs.

"We'll have a drink after the game but he'll have a pint and I'll have a half!"

Alan, on a serious note, believes Coleman is doing a good job and adds:

"He's brought something to Fulham they lacked under Jean Tigana - a desire and passion.

"But my boys fancy it - we feel we're playing well and we've had some great results away from home this season."