Tomkins takes step forward

Kevin Keen was delighted to see James Tomkins make his return to action for West Ham United this week in a behind-closed doors friendly.

The England Under-19 defender suffered a knee injury on international duty this summer but has returned to fitness and got a valuable half under his belt in the midweek 2-0 win against Wycombe Wanderers, following on from James Collins making his own playing return the previous week. The signs are positive with another practice game scheduled next week and no first-team fixture until Saturday 13 September.


Keen said: "It was a big boost to see him back out there. James played 45 minutes and I think he looked a little bit rusty but we have got another game next week. He will train and I think hopefully give it two or three weeks and he will be fully fit and raring to go," he said. While Tomkins got a good run-out, it was also a notable game for his central defensive partner Bondz 'Gala who captained the side and looked in control throughout.

"I think it is a great honour to captain West Ham at any level and whatever kind of game it is. Bondz understood that. He has done really well in pre-season," Keen added. "He is aggressive, hard-working and hopefully there are big things ahead of him. He has still got to brush up on a few things but is looking good."

There was naturally also praise for two-goal Freddie Sears and his strike partner Zavon Hines. "It is just nice to see some of the young lads out there getting a game. It is difficult with not having too many reserve games. It is good that Freddie scored a wonderful first goal and Zavon did well for his second. Freddie will always get a tap-in but he has got good ability otherwise to score better goals."