Alan On J

Alan Pardew is confident that Jermain Defoe will be a force for West Ham for the rest of the season - once his suspension ends after the Rotherham game.

One of the more fanciful suggestions concerning Jermain has been that he would join Spurs last weekend - a claim made in a tabloid and broadsheet newspaper, albeit by the same journalist - but Alan insists:

"I am optimistic that he is going to stay; I think it is important for us and him that he has a close look at his disciplinary record over the first two thirds and appreciates that he is under the microscope - and must conduct himself properly."

Under the microscope Jermain certainly is; most observers feel that a the very least the latter two of his red cards have been unwarranted and that he is being targeted, unfairly, by first division referees.

"We want to remember him celebrating goals and celebrating goals alone - as well as, hopefully, promotion.

"We are two days away from the fact that he will be with us and I can't wait for that day to arrive.

"I have said all along that I want to adhere him to the club and we are doing as much as we can.

"A special talent like his doesn't come along that often, even to a great club like West Ham - we have to do everything we can to keep him, and that is what we are trying to do."

The transfer deadline closes at the end of the month, though it does not prevent West Ham signing players beyond it.

Alan is looking to continue to strengthen the squad, hoping to emulate to some degree the Manchester United of over a decade ago which was built, largely, on youth.

But his biggest concern has not been losing, as the cliche goes, his prized assets, and Alan adds:

"It has been a worrying month because I have had to make a lot of changes and I feel much more comfortable with what is going on around me - and hopefully that will be reflected in results.

"You don't have to give J any extra work because he is on fire in training and I am a great believer in his ability and I think he is as good as I have seen.

"I hope that when he comes back we will have got the right result for him at Rotherham and then he repays our faith in him to start getting the goals that get him near the top."

The report that said Spurs [!] would be signing Jermain also claimed that he was "apparently more interested in leaving than playing for the club."

It is an accusation that Alan vehemently denies, and he stresses:

"He has coached the kids and he has been terrific to all the staff at this place, and that never gets mentioned in the broadsheets, it all goes amiss and it is always being written 'he wants away,' etc. etc.

"He has been great around the club, he is a good lad, and I know even looking at West Ham from the outside as a fan you could look at his transfer request in a negative way.

"But look at the positives he brings; he is a great player, respectful around the place and I hope that he now produces the form that he shows in training.

"We still have two days to go though...!"