Alan's Tough Decision

Alan Pardew faces one of his toughest decisions of the season when he has to choose whether to select James Walker or Steve Bywater in goal for the trip to Plymouth.

James' performance at Stamford Bridge midweek certainly drew admiring plaudits, but he has yet to play in the league since joining from Walsall and Alan says:

"Stephen has been spot on for us this year and not put a foot wrong, but Jimmy has come in and put in a world class performance, let alone a Premiership one.

"That has put Stephen under immense pressure, and that is what you want; I am sure, in a way, that will push Stephen to a new level."

Mark Noble also garnered favourable attention with his display when he came on for Adam Nowland in central midfield; he, too, has yet to play in the league for the Hammers, and Alan says:

"You are talking about a lad who lives round the corner from the stadium - his heart belongs to West Ham, and always will.

"It is great to see him out there because he has got the talent you want; he is a player we think highly of, but we are not going to say too much about him because we don't want to put pressure on him.

"We certainly feel he could feature this year and perhaps even further down the line he could play a bigger part."

Alan is determined that his side make it three league victories on the trot with the trip to Plymouth and he concludes:

"You have to accept defeat as a footballer, and you can accept it when you have put in a display with dignity as we did on Wednesday.

"But we are trying to create a winning mentality and ultimately we haven't come away with anything - that still hurts us, and we are not going to get away from that.

"We don't want to lose two on the trot so we want to get back to winning ways on Saturday."

Chris Powell, Calum Davenport, and Carl Fletcher all return to the squad after being ineligible at Chelsea but Sergei Rebrov [knee] joins Teddy Sheringham [thigh] on the injured list.

Also missing, of course, are central defenders Christian Dailly, Malky Mackay, and Andy Melville.

SQUAD: Bywater, Repka, Walker, Fletcher, Powell, Harewood, Lomas, Brevett, Davenport, Nowland, Mullins, Reo-Coker, Hutchison, Chadwick, Zamora, Etherington, Ferdinand.