Pards Prepares For Captain Marvel

HAMMERS host West Bromwich Albion this Saturday, and Alan Pardew will be hoping that fortress Upton Park can inspire his team to another home victory.

Albion lay precariously, just one place above the bottom three, and have yet to win on the road, having scored only one goal, against bottom of the league Sunderland. Bryan Robson's men, however, are a resilient force, staying in the Premiership with a last ditch effort on the final day of the season.

"They're a team that's looking for momentum, looking to get going," said Pards. "They've had some decent results and some indifferent results.

"I know Bryan and I'm a great admirer of his. It will be a tough game. He was tough to play against."

Despite losing their last two league fixtures, the Baggies progressed in the Carling Cup at the expense of Fulham, and three games ago beat Arsenal with a superb Darren Carter strike.

Pards remains confident though, and will be eager to vanquish memories of defeats at Liverpool and Bolton.

"We looked at this month and thought it was a tricky one for us, including Middlesbrough, who we beat, so that was great," said Alan.

"Liverpool away was probably not the best time to catch them, and that's what this league's about, catching teams at the right time. West Brom are coming off of a defeat and we're coming off of a defeat, so one of us will be alright, we'll find out on Saturday.

"We've done well. You can make statistics say anything you want, and work for you. We won our last home game so that's how I'll look at it, a positive stat for us.

"That's how I work, positivity in and around my players. No negativity. They knew it would be tough at Liverpool, but we hold no fear at home.

"It's a different ball game at Upton Park. Teams are finding that the atmosphere is very strong and it makes us a much more formidable opponent."

After committing his long term future to the Club, Pards has set his sights high, and set the Hammers off on a journey towards success.

"I don't want to be here striving for mediocrity, I want us to achieve things," he said.

"The new contract means I have a responsibility for the future, and I am very excited.

"We have a pot of money now for this window, to see us through to the summer, and if we stay in the Premiership that pot will increase. It's all geared towards success.

"The other assurance is that I won't have to sell anybody, which is fantastic news for West Ham United fans with the number of good youngsters we've got already. The obvious thing is that we've got to stay in the Premiership for all of this to work.

"My recruitment here and at Reading was pretty good, its one of my strengths. The key is now to recruit not just the right type of players, but characters. You can lose the spirit if you recruit one or two who are not quite right.

"I believe the players we have here are setting the right example for new players to come in, and it's a great environment to come into.

"The playing roster was as strong when I took over as it is now, but the spirit wasn't there because of the relegation."

One of the newest recruits in the summer, Danny Gabbidon, has impressed immensely so far, playing coolly and calmly in the Premiership like he's been there all his life.

"His performances have been terrific, probably better than I expected," said Pards.

"He has an assurance about him and looks beyond his years. All the success he's getting is from the hard work he puts in at the training ground.

"When he plays he doesn't look happy or like he's having a good time.

"At Cardiff he used to try and win games on his own, charging everywhere, snarling, and I thought that was his character. I did misread him somewhat, I though he was an aggressive guy, but he's not like that at all, the complete opposite, a soft poodle!

"When he plays though, he's hard and fast. His major assets are his speed and agility."

Danny will need all his speed and agility on Saturday, facing a team inspired by 'Captain Marvell', Bryan Robson.

Pards has fond memories of playing against the ex-England skipper, including the 1990 FA Cup Final.

"I've got vivid memories of that cup final," said Alan, "and I enjoyed playing against him, because you knew what you got, he was a proper pro. A very hard tackler, but I won a few against him!"