Pards Praises Strong Start

ALAN Pardew was delighted with his side's first work-out of the pre-season schedule in the 3-1 win over Falkenbergs FF.

The Hammers boss was particularly pleased with the performances of three of his new signings - Paul Konchesky, Danny Gabbidon and James Collins.

"I thought the three new lads did very well," Pards agreed. "James Collins had a solid game in the centre of defence and Paul Konchesky did well at left-back. He put in an excellent cross for the second goal and I think with someone like Matty Etherington in front of him that left-side is going to be a strong area for us again next season.

"We tried Danny Gabbidon at right-back because last season we only really had Tomas for that position, and Danny looked very comfortable. "Although his favoured position is centre-half, Danny is a very assured player and it gives us another option. If he has a good pre-season Danny's got a very good chance of starting the season for us."

Another player who certainly did not look out of place in something of a compeititve match was Scottish international Christian Dailly. Seeing more of the ball than any other player on the pitch, Dailly turned in a combative performance, prompting Pards to reveal a change of assignment for the player who has featured as a centre-half for the majority of his four year stay at Upton Park.

"Christian had a good game in the centre of midfield," said the manager. "He's played very well there for Scotland recently and this season we are going to be treating him as a midfield player, using him to break up the play and give the full-backs a chance to bomb on down the flanks.

"It means Christian's range of passing is going to have to be high, but he turned in a very impressive performance and hopefully he can use that as a platform to build this season.

"We have got four young guys in the centre-half positions who we feel are good enough to cope with the challenge of the Premiership and Christian will only be used as an emergency defender."

Also included in the win over Falkenbergs were the two trialists on tour - goalkeeper Juraj Bucek and striker Petr Mikolanda.

"We wanted to give the two trialists a game," explained Pards. "We brought them on tour so that we could have a real good look at them and it was kind of their clubs to allow them to come with us.

"They'll work with the squad throughout our stay here and we should know by the end of the tour whether we are going to pursue any interest in them."

Now Pards will prepare his side for their second game against FC Trollhättan on Saturday, but is likely to re-shuffle his pack for the match.

"It will be a different team for the FC Trollhättan game, but the squad is looking very strong, and it will be just as strong a side that we put out.

"The first game was a good work out, it was a solid and encouraging performance and there were no injuries to come out of the game.

"Marlon scored two very good goals and all round I thought he gave a good display.

"The tour is going well so far. The players are enjoying their stay, but most importantly they're working hard and looking to prepare themselves in the right way for the new season."