Alan Looking For Right Reaction

Alan Pardew says that those players he does not pick at the weekend will have to react in the right way to secure a place in the side.

After a flurry of transfer activity, and six players being ineligible at Fulham in the FA cup on Saturday, Alan has an embarrassment of riches, as they say, when pondering his team selection for the trip to Norwich.

He knows there will be disappointment for some, and he says:

"The professionalism of the club is called into focus when that happens and you look to those players to deal with it in a professional manner - and they will do.

"We have all had heartache as players, missing out on big games, and all you can do is train hard and hope your chance will come.

"'Interesting decisions' is one way of putting it; for me they are lucky decisions because I have got a lot of great players available - and that is what you want.

"In fact, it is an easy decision picking good players."

Alan is a great admirer of Norwich City, and he says:

"They are the best side because they are top of the league; you can't get away from that.

"We have got a newish side that I am going to put up against them and it will give us some indication of where we are at.

"Over three years they have built on things after they could perhaps have gone up in the play-offs; they have a great structure and discipline about them, they have brought in good players, and have built nice and gently.

"It is only this year where they have got themselves in a position where they could go for it - which they have done with the signing of Huckerby, of course.

"They have a fantastic chance and are a club you wouldn't begrudge getting promoted.

"Norwich are there on merit but there are high expectations for them now.

"With the lead they have you'd expect them to win the title but the pressure might kick in and they might start having problems.

"It is a big game but we've got ourselves into a position to have a big game by not losing in 13 away games. We're showing signs of improving."

As for next week's FA cup replay against Fulham, Alan adds:

"It is still evenly balanced and we have the advantage that we are at home if it goes to extra time and penalties.

"But it is obviously a tough game and they have some outstanding players coming to Upton Park."

Alan is pleased that Steve Bywater kept his first clean sheet at Fulham, and adds:

"I said prior to the game that he deserves to have the defenders help him out a little bit to get a clean sheet and he had done enough to do so in previous games.

"As a team we had let him down, but we didn't on Saturday, and we hope to continue with that pattern - because, to me, a clean sheet is a building block of success.

"We can give anyone a game at the moment; we have shown that in the last few weeks."

Alan acknowledges that West Ham could have won the game right at the end if the referee hadn't blown up for an infringement when the advantage could have been played with Matthew Etherington clean through, and he says:

"Fortune didn't smile on us on Saturday but hopefully it will tomorrow and Tuesday.

"It was a bad decision and he held his hands up to that but it doesn't do us any favours.

"We go to a replay when the tie could be over.

"Those decisions happen in games and you live with them, and hopefully you get your share of ones that go in your favour."