Pards Pleased

Alan Pardew is looking for the players that he left on the bench against Rotherham to try and force their way back into contention for Ipswich at the weekend.

With Malky Mackay coming into the starting line-up and Tomas Repka switching to right back, and Chris Powell making his debut, Hayden Mullins and Rufus Brevett, amongst other quality performers this season, were left out of the starting eleven.

"I did speak to them," says Alan.

"Obviously they are not pleased because they want to play for West Ham, but I said to them in the dressing room that it is important those guys' heads don't go down, that they push me to play them.

"That is the competition you want but with a squad this size I would be foolish to say I can keep everyone happy - that is part of the game.

"I never had any favourites when I was at Reading and I certainly don't have any favourites here - I will leave the lads to push me.

"The important thing is that I make sure I use the bodies and the ones that missed out on Tuesday could well play on Saturday."

Looking at the win over Rotherham, Alan says:

"It was always a tricky fixture in terms of them not having won and we knew they were going to defend deep.

"I thought our movement was pretty good but when it is that tight and there are so many boys in front of you, you are really relying on the boys' technical ability to conjure something up.

"We were looking to Sergei to bring a bit of that to the team when he came on.

"We moved the ball around and we were nice and safe at the back whereas we have had a lot of scares at Upton Park in games like that.

"We defended well and the concentration of the two centre halves was good - and we posed a few questions for them. "The goal came at a good time because we were just getting a bit edgy at that point, and then we just saw the game out.

"It would have been nice to get an early goal and they would have had to come out but we didn't get one; after we got the goal we had a couple of chances to get the second but if you don't get an early goal in those types of games it is going to be a 1-0, or at best two."

Alan was grateful for the support of the home fans - a magnificent 26,000 plus turned out on Tuesday - and he adds:

"I thought the crowd were terrific; it was Rotherham at home and they could easily have got impatient with us.

"I think they could see we were trying to break them down the right way and not just bash it, and that was a good night for us because it was a really tough game - and it was hard to watch at times.

"I was really pleased that we kept to the philosophy that we are about, keeping the ball moving; it was an easy one to slip up on and with them not having had a win it had all those horrible ingredients.

"I thought the new lads all played well; you can see what Fletcher is going to bring to us because he passes the ball well and puts a tackle in.

"Malky had a great debut - I thought his passing was terrific - and I was pleased with the other two as well.

"They are experienced players and we had the chance to work through things on Monday; I thought it was a good time to blood the new ones and it poses me a few questions for Ipswich."

As for Matthew Etherington's goal that won the game, Alan adds:

"It was a good goal but I was surprised because I thought Teddy might take it left footed again like he did Saturday - it was a good hit."

Alan was not disappointed at all with his two forwards, and adds:

"I was pleased with the strikers' contribution; Marlon did some good things, and so did Teddy.

"The target for us was to set up the Ipswich game by making sure we got the three points - and get something near a full house for Saturday's top of the table clash.

"If the game is anything like te last two games we played against them it will be a treat for the fans - and hopefully the right result."

West Ham are nicely poised just a point from the top - and Alan wants to maintain the pressure at the weekend.

"I thought a lot of the frustration in the crowd and in our play last season came from the fact we were so far behind the top two.

"No one has got away from us as yet this time and, though there are some strong teams in this division and it is pretty tight, we have got a squad that I feel is strong enough."