Pards Puts Aside Fond Memories Of Fulham

HAMMERS take a trip across the capital on Saturday for their first London derby of the season against Fulham at Craven Cottage, and Alan Pardew has fond memories of the west London side he used to watch as a boy.

Alan has also been impressed by Chris Coleman's side as they defeated Everton and were hard done by not take three points home from St James Park.

"I've not actually seen them, apart from bits and bobs on the TV," he said.

"But my reports are that they've played very well and were unlucky not to take all the points from Newcastle.

"They've got an outstanding midfield section and that is probably going to be the key to the game, how well we cope with that. Steed Malbranque, Luis Boa Morte, Papa Bouba Diop and Claus Jensen of course.

"I've got fond memories of Fulham. It's one of those rare grounds where you can walk through a park with the kids all playing and it's a really relaxed atmosphere by the river.

"Down the years they've had some great teams. Johnny Haynes was all my dad used to talk to me about so I've got a fondness for them.

West Ham have of course got to aim to build on Monday night's fine performance against Aston Villa, and one man in particular will be looking for more of the same.

Marlon Harewood bagged his first, second and third goals of the season, claiming the match ball, and will be eager continue in the same vein.

"It's important that he builds on that," said Alan

"We are working on his concentration and his consistency and the four performances he has given have been terrific, but obviously goals are what strikers live and die by and his got three under his belt now so he's got to move on.

"In pre-season he kept saying he couldn't wait to terrorise some defences in this division and I know he can do it.

"You've got to have that inner belief otherwise you're never going to succeed. He's got bundles of that and we've got bundles of that in the team."

Monday's other goal scorer Yossi Benayoun was equally impressive in front of the Sky TV cameras, but Pards maintains that we haven't seen the best of him yet.

"He isn't quite settled in yet," explanined Pards. "He's not moved into to his house but luckily he's put in some decent performances and there's much more to come.

That 4-0 victory moved the Hammers up into seventh position and has given them a healthy goal difference of plus five, although Alan insisted that he would settle for three points and a win.

The performances at Upton Park this season however, have certainly produced value for money and entertainment.

"The Villa game wasn't a lot different to Bolton in terms of the possession we had and chances we created," said Alan.

"We obviously took them, and the goals came at a great time for us. It was a very pleasant evening all round.

"The score line surprised me but the performance didn't. The three home games have been terrific entertainment and hopefully that will continue for the rest of the year."

The confidence is flowing but Pards knows that his side will still have to be on their toes if they are to come home with the points in the bag.

"I think on the back of our result it would be very easy for us to turn up there after beating Aston Villa 4-0 thinking it's a nice pleasant afternoon in London and get completely turned over," he said.

"So I'll certainly make sure that the players don't think that.

"The one thing that will be assured is that we will get a fantastic reception form our fans and we'll make plenty of noise.

"I've had a few of the old West Ham players contact me and say that it's just like the old days, and its always nice to hear that from old pro's who were fantastic servants for this club."