Missed Chance

ALAN Pardew admitted that missed chances cost his side against Crewe, as a last minute equaliser from the Railwaymen denied Hammers what would have been a precious three points.

But Hammers will get the chance to hit back in just two days time when they take on Leicester City at Upton Park in a live Sky TV game, and Pards insists his players will be ready.

"Losing a goal in the last minute was a big body blow for the team," confessed Alan. "I felt for the players because they put everything into the game and just a lack of confidence in front of goal cost us three points.

"But we've suffered set-backs this season and if we've shown one thing its that we know how to come back from them. It's a quick turn around for Friday's game against Leicester and we've got to dig in and make sure we're ready to go."

Having taken the lead through a sublimely executed Teddy Sheringham free-kick, Hammers squandered several chances to wrap up the three points. Alan admitted that the wayward finishing undermined what was a good strong performance.

"It was a shame because we played some good stuff and looked more calm and composed on the ball," he said.

"The amount of effort we put in, from players and especially the fans, I think we deserved a win. At 1-0 we had a few great chances to seal the game, but when you don't take them it's always going to leave you exposed.

"We could have had four when you look at our chances, but we made some poor decisions in front of goal and didn't show enough composure.

"They had six attackers on at the end and were throwing the ball into the box. Unfortunately, we conceded at a bad time in the game and we had no time to make up for it."

Pards praised the fledgling centre-back pairing of fit-again Anton Ferdinand and full-League debutant Elliott Ward, who had an exemplary game.

"I thought Elliott did terrific on his full debut," said Alan, "and alongside Anton, who played the full 90 minutes in his first game back from a hamstring, looked very solid and assured. They both had a very good game and it was a shame that it ended the way it did."

The repercussions will certainly be felt in the treatment room today after Matty Etherington limped off with a twisted knee just before half-time and Gavin Williams succumbed to an ankle injury late on. Both are doubtful for Friday, while Anton Ferdinand will be feeling the strain of his first appearance in three games.

"We lost one or two bodies against Crewe and that's definitely a concern with another game coming up so quickly," admitted Pards.

"Matty twisted his knee and will have a scan to assess the damage, while Gavin has taken a knock on his ankle.

"Anton played a hard game for someone who's been out with a hamstring for three weeks and we'll have to keep an eye on him as well. Add that to the injuries we've already got and we are lacking cover.

"But Tomas and hopefully Christian Dailly will be back after Friday, so we'll need to assess the situation over the next couple of days."

Now the Hammers boss must lift his players for the televised clash with Leicester City on Friday, and insists the three points are crucial to their season.

"The table didn't move a great deal after the Crewe result," he explained, "but it's another home game gone and now we face a tough test at Upton Park against Leicester.

"It's live on Sky TV, which brings a bit of added pressure, and the opposition will be highly motivated because of the tough week they've had.

"But for us taking the three points is going to be crucial and we've really got to show our mettle."