Strike Partners

ALAN Pardew insists Bobby Zamora can fill the shoes of hamstring victim Teddy Sheringham in the crucial clash with Sunderland at Upton Park.

Teddy, the Club's leading scorer with 21 goals this season, is unavailable for the Black Cats game after pulling a hamstring against Brighton. But Pards believes Zamora can strike an effective partnership with close friend Marlon Harewood after showing some impressive form from the substitutes bench recently.

"Bobby is going to get a run in the side now," admitted Alan, "and what a time to get it. Fate has played it's hand, but Bobby has been excellent when he's come off the bench and affected games recently.

"Now he'll get his chance from the start and could end up helping the Club achieve something very special. Obviously losing Teddy is a blow, but with Bobby up front they'll be a slightly different look to the team.

"Bobby and Marlon Harewood are big friends off the pitch and you rarely get that with two strikers because of the competition between them.

"They'll work hard for each other, play to each other's strengths and I think they could have the makings of a very good partnership. 

"They'll be a different theme in the way we play and Bobby's presence will certainly give us some more energy and work-rate, purely because of his age. It will add a dimension to our play, but at the same time Teddy's ability and his presence in the side will be a loss."

Sheringham's injury rules him out for the rest of the scheduled season, but Pards admitted that should the Hammers make the Play-offs the 39-year-old star could yet return.

"Teddy's best chance of playing again would be the Play-off Final, should we make it," he said. "Teddy has had a great season for us, not only with his contrbiution on the pitch, but also his presence and experience off it.

"We owe it to Teddy to give him the chance to play in the Final and that will be a real souce of motivation for the players over the rest of the season."