Yossi Backs Yaniv

Yossi Benayoun believes that his good friend Yaniv Katan will become a big success at West Ham United.

Alan Pardew now has two talented Israelis to call upon, after 24-year-old Yaniv completed a £100,000 move from Maccabi Haifa last week, and Yossi is delighted to have been joined at Upton Park by his national team colleague.

"For me, it is nice, we are good friends and I have known Yaniv for more than 10 years," says the Hammers midfielder. "We grew up together playing for the national team at the various levels and of course we had four years together at Maccabi Haifa.

"It will be nice for us to be here together and I am looking forward to seeing what Yaniv will bring to the team.

"He is a very good player, quick and strong, a good finisher and he works very hard for the team. I'm sure he will be very successful here."

Meanwhile, Yossi is facing a battle to be fit the trip to Aston Villa on Saturday. The 26-year-old missed the FA Cup victory at Norwich City last weekend after suffering a recurrence of the thigh strain that ruled him out over the Christmas period.

The injury isn't likely to keep him out for much longer, but Yossi admits he won't return this time until it is fully healed.

"I feel a little better, but still not 100 per cent," he says. "Maybe I came back too soon after Christmas, but I don't like to miss games and I wanted to help the team

"Now I have to rest the injury, that is all I can do, and hope that it is better soon.

"I may have a chance of playing on Saturday, we will have to wait and see, but I don't want to rush back and risk damaging the muscle again."