Pards Hails A Great Night For West Ham United

ALAN Pardew described his side's 2-1 victory at Birmingham City as a great night for West Ham United, after goals from Bobby Zamora and Marlon Harewood sealed all three points for his hard-working side.

The Hammers boss was also full of praise for the strike duo, who played together for the first time since the away game at Fulham in September because of Teddy Sheringham's absence due to a calf injury. But Pards revealed that Teddy would have still not been included in the starting eleven, even if he had been fit:

"We wanted to give Teddy a rest this evening," explained Pards, "and even before his injury I had chosen the team with Bobby starting. Teddy would have started on the bench and we felt that he would have an important role for us coming on in the final stages of the game.

"But Bobby got his chance at Birmingham and he took it. He showed us in the Play-offs last season that he has got the ability to score quality goals. He has shown all his career that he has the ability. Obviously the Premier League is a big step up, but he has really made his mark against Birmingham.

"Bobby has worked so hard in training and I'm delighted that he has got his reward. I'm really pleased for him."

Pards also had fitness concerns about Marlon Harewood before the game began, after the striker woke up on the day of the game suffering from a migraine.
But the brave forward stepped forward to not only play, but score the winning goal late in the first-half.

The manager was delighted with Marlon's work ethic, hailing his performance as a man-of-the-match display.

"I thought Marlon was our best player on the night," enthused Alan. "His work rate was phenomenal, he worked the centre-halves all night and put the opposition under constant pressure.

"Marlon suffers from migraines and he woke up on the day of the game suffering with a severe one. I must admit that I was worried, but he put in a really great performance."

With a tough run of three away successive away games followed by a home clash with Newcastle, Pards also admitted that his side had got off to the best possible start in a crucial period for the season.

"People were saying to me before the Birmingham game about the run of three away matches and how tough it would be," he reflected. "But I always thought that if we took each game singularly and approached each one in a positive way then we could get results.

"Obviously every away game at this level is difficult, but we have got off to a great start with three points at Birmingham and it will give us a boost going into another tough trip to Blackburn. Again that is a tough game, but it's one that we'll approach in a positive way.

"We've got great character in the team and we showed that again at Birmingham. You have to consider as well that this is a new team. Four of the players who played at Birmingham were brought in over the summer, and Mark Noble is also a new face in the side, so it's a new team, but the spirit in the squad is fantastic and we showed it throughout the game. Our fans were in great voice as well so all round it was a good night for West Ham United."