Pards Praises Magic Marlon

ALAN Pardew admitted that Marlon Harewood's starting place was under threat before the game against Aston Villa and was delighted to see the 26-year-old striker respond with a match-winning hat-trick.

Pards said: "It was not cut and dry that I would pick him against Villa.

"Bobby Zamora has been training well and he's desperate for a chance, so I did think about changing things.

"But Marlon had played three games and performed to a good level in those games, even though he hadn't taken his chances.

"He's scored goals at every level he's played at and was at his best is a real handful for defenders.

"He was great against Villa and for the work he has put in he really deserved the hat-trick. It was great to see the smile on his face after the game."

Bagging the first Premier League hat-trick of the season will doubtless be a huge lift to the striker's confidence and as the Hammers continue to impress since returning to the top-flight, so Pards believes Marlon can make an impact at the top level.

"Strikers thrive on confidence and Marlon is no different," he added. "The hat-trick will give him a huge lift and hopefully the team and the Club will benefit from that.

"He worries about his football at times. He wants to improve and listens and tries to take everything in, because he is determined to progress.

"But sometimes it pays not to think too deeply about things and go with the flow a bit.

"Sometimes he has a tendency to switch off a little bit, and the fans can sense that at times and have been a bit impatient with him.

"But when he works hard things always seem to click into place for Marlon and they certainly did against Villa.

"With his physique he could model for Armani, he's chiselled everywhere, he's tremendously strong and at his best is a terrific striker."