Alan Pardew has admitted that Dean Ashton and Matthew
Etherington are facing a race against time to be fit for
tomorrow's FA Cup final.
The injured pair have been receiving round the clock treatment during the build-up to our momentous clash against Liverpool at the Millennium Stadium, but Pards has revealed that both are still yet to face fitness tests.
"Unfortunately, both Matty and Deano didn't train today (Friday) and I have to admit that is a worrying sign for me at this stage of our preparation," says the Hammers boss.
"They will travel with us to Cardiff this afternoon and we will give both of them every chance to prove their fitness right up until I name the team tomorrow, but I am certainly facing the possibility of having to plan without them."
[QUOTE]"I want our fans to use the occasion as a celebration of our entire campaign, because it has been a tremendous experience for everyone involved with West Ham United"[/QUOTE]
Despite the ominous situation facing two of his key players,
Pards insists that confidence is high among the camp and has a
rallying message for Hammers fans everywhere ahead of what will
hopefully be one of the greatest occasions in the Club's
"Everyone here is in fantastic spirits and we had a fantastic session this morning," he says. "I know that my players are in the perfect frame of mind for the game and will be as prepared as they can possibly be at 3.00pm on Saturday.
"We hope that everyone travelling to Cardiff has a safe journey and that those who are staying behind at home enjoy the occasion as much as they can. I really do feel for those fans without tickets. I've had some real heart-rending letters from people who are not going and I reckon we could probably fill the Millennium Stadium twice over. Hopefully, if all goes well, we will see everyone on Monday at a victory parade.
"As for the fans who will be there tomorrow, I am sure they'll make it an atmosphere to remember. I've heard so many stories about the 1991 semi-final, when the fans sang throughout the second-half despite being 4-0 down and, whatever happens on the pitch this weekend, I really hope our crowd take that same attitude.
"Have no doubt, we are going there focused and determined to win the trophy, but the players deserve wonderful support win or lose after their efforts this season. I want our fans to use the occasion as a celebration of our entire campaign, because it has been a tremendous experience for everyone involved with West Ham United."