Alan's Adventure Team

ALAN Pardew likes his buccaneering Hammers to treat every Premiership game as an adventure, but the Hammers boss knows that his side will face a stiff test against a Newcastle team much-improved since West Ham United held them at St James's Park in August.

Pards said: "It's been an up and down season for them, mainly due to injuries.

"Graeme Souness has got a stroner team now than perhaps when we played them in the first game, so it will be a tougher test for us.

"But in that first game I really felt that we played well and other than getting Paul Konchesky sent off, which was rescinded later on, it could have been an even better result for us.

"There will be different challenges for us this time. Michael Owen hadn't signed when we went there, Luque wasn't there and Emre was also out, so they were particularly short in that game. It's going to be a big test.

"Up front they have a world class pair and that's going to be a real test for our defenders."

With Danny Gabbidon absent after gashing his leg badly at Blackburn, Pards is likely to entrust the job of shackling one of the most potent strike forces in the League to Anton Ferdinand and James Collins, who had a fine debut at Everton.

"Having gone back and look at his game at Everton I thought James Collins was really impressive," admitted Alan.

"I've always felt centre-back was a very strong position for us. We've got Elliott Ward out on loan at Plymouth as well who hasn't had a start in the Premier League yet and perhaps deserves one after his performances last season.

"It's a position where we have good cover and gives me a nice problem. But another big bonus at Everton was the performance of Carl Fletcher, who has not really been involved this year. It was a credit to his professionalism that he has kept himself together and was able to put in that kind of performance when we needed him.

"The loss of Nigel Reo-Coker, which we thought was going to be difficult for us, has worked out okay because Mark Noble and Carl have come in and done very well."

The ultra-positive outlook of Pards' Hammers will mean that they are bubbling with belief ahead of the Newcastle clash. But the Hammers boss will not let his team get carried away.

"We haven't had a lot of time to analyse the Everton game because of the build up to Newcastle," he admitted, "but it was quite a performance. Coming from behind to win both the games at Birmingham and Everton is fantastic.

"But we've got the sort of squad that won't need to have their feet kept on the ground. Every game is an adventure for us, that's how I want the players to treat it.

"I don't have a problem keeping the players' feet on the ground. I've got some terrific senior pros, who aren't actually playing at the moment - the likes of Shaun Newton, Christian Dailly and Teddy Sheringham. They keep everyone's feet on the ground.

"We knew that to beat a David Moyes team on Wednesday night we'd need to work incredibly hard. We did that, and if we do it again on Saturday we'll give Newcastle a tough run for their money."