Alan's Young Guns

HAMMERS boss Alan Pardew is delighted with the way his young squad is taking shape, after the recent signings of David Bellion and Jeremie Aliadiere on season-long loans.

With West Ham United displaying the brand of high-tempo, exciting football that Pards wants to bring to the Upton Park faithful he insists the squad is showing strength in depth going into Hammers third game of their Premier League campaign against Bolton Wanderers.

"We are a young, exciting team," he began, "and we' ve already shown glimpses this season of the style of football that we are looking to play.

"Now we want to build on that and we've brought in some fantastic young players recently who will add to the energy, pace and quality of the squad.

"We are at a stage now where we've got at least two names for every position and that is extremely encouraging for the Club. It's also what is required in the Premier League, because it's a physically demanding League and a huge challenge.

"When you do build a squad there is the added problem of managing that squad of players. But to do that I have an excellent staff behind me and together we try to handle the players in a manner that is respectful.

"As professional footballers all of our players want to play and I want them to show hunger and determination in training. I'm looking for them to impress me enough, take their chances and make it impossible for me to leave them out.

"But, as I've said, the squad is really on a high and our aim is just to keep that going. I'm really happy with the way the players have coped so far and now we've got to back that up.

"This is a long season. It's about nine months not three weeks and we've got lots of work ahead of us, starting with the game against Bolton on Saturday."

Arsenal forward Aliadiere will add weight to the forward line, but Pards refuses to rule out the possibility of another striker arriving before the close of the transfer window.

"We will see how things progress in the next four or five days," he explained. "If I can secure a player who will imrpove our team then I will do all I can to sign that player.

"But we have some very good forwards already at the Club who are providing good competition for places up front. Teddy Sheringham is the only established Premier League player amongst them in terms of his scoring record at this level, but the others are hungry to prove themselves at this level and that is often a very powerful factor in how a player performs.

"Marlon Harewood and Teddy have started the first two games, but we've got Bobby Zamora on the bench who is just itching to play, and now Jeremie has come in as well to what is a strong pool of strikers.

"I've explained to Jeremie that he won't start for us on Saturday, but I've said to him, as I have all the players, that if they get their chance and they take it then I will pick them the following week.

"I want to build the best team for West Ham United, but I do have allegiances to the players who got us into the Premier League. They did a fantastic job last season and I want them to have the chance to do well at this level, as I'm sure all our fans do."

Going into their third Premiership outing of the season, against a Bolton side who have amassed the same number of points but played one more game, Pards admits his aims for the season remain simple.

"Our ambitions are straightforward," he said. "To do as well as we can in the Premiership and give every match the respect it deserves.

"In the Championship you play so many games, often one on top of the other, you almost get stuck on auto-pilot. That can't happen in the Premiership. You almost face a Cup final every week and you must prepare in the right way.

"But we've put in some good work this week, we are ready for the match and hopefully we can come away with another positive result."