Manager on Monday

Alan Curbishley has suggested Fabio Capello makes a trip to the City of Manchester next week to see his West Ham United take on Manchester City in the FA Cup

"Perhaps he should come and watch the replay," the manager said, in response to a question about the Italian coach starting work today in charge of England's footballing fortunes. As illustrated by the 0-0 third-round draw against Sven-Goran Eriksson's side at the Boleyn Ground on Saturday, Curbishley felt Capello would do well to take notice of the defensive resilience within both teams.

"For all the expansive stuff that Man City are playing, their two centre-halves are very strong and Micah Richards is playing ever so well," said a gracious Curbishley about the visitors' strength. He was equally praiseworthy about his own back five, revealing he had taken Robert Green and his defenders aside last week to commend them on their role in "where we are at the moment".

He added: "I pulled them in and said 'you have stood firm'. I have been delighted with what they have done. We probably look at it and think we need a little bit more going the other way - we all know that. The fans are appreciating what we are trying to do - it is a bit difficult at the moment. We knew [City] was going to be a tough one. I have been delighted with what we have done all season. I keep saying it, especially defensively."

The new England manager is regarded for getting strong rearguard performances from his sides, and Curbishley expects him to give fair consideration to the likes of Green - who was watched by FA goalkeeping coach Ray Clemence on Saturday - and Matthew Upson. "We have got a clean slate with Capello coming in. Everybody should be looking and thinking if 'I play well, i've got a chance' We are in a situation now where he goes on what he sees. That's what Sven did and perhaps that's what Capello will do regarding all the positions.

"If you have just landed and started watching the Premier League for a couple of weeks, you pick the players you have seen doing well. It is an interesting time for everybody connected with England. Player wise, they should be looking forward to the games and trying to impress." As well as Green and Upson, Curbishley believed the likes of Scott Parker, Kieron Dyer and Dean Ashton will harbour legitimate aspirations in future.

Speaking of the No9, Ashton, who competed well against the form partnership of Richards and Richard Dunne, demonstrated his willingness with a late header against City that very nearly won it for the home side. "I was desperate for him to score with the header because whatever situation he finds himself in he's scored more goals than most - even with the football he's played," the manager added.

"The problem I have got with all these players coming back is they are trying to get fit in the Premier League. That's my problem at the moment and Deano is in a similar situation. It is very difficult and you have got to try and get results as well. But we will soldier on, we can't do anything else - as I said we did put out our strongest side again and that's what we will do on Saturday [in the league] against Fulham and again at Man City - because that's what we have got."