Dyer's perfect blend

Reserve-team manager Alex Dyer believes the blend of youth and experience worked perfectly in the 2-1 victory over Crystal Palace.

Senior internationals Kieron Dyer and Tal Ben Haim gained welcome match time as they continue their progress towards full fitness, while a host of promising youngsters did themselves no harm in front of watching first-team boss Avram Grant.

With Saturday's Barclays Premier League visit of Bolton Wanderers being followed by a home Carling Cup second-round meeting with Oxford United next Tuesday, Grant will want to have a strong squad at his disposal.

With Dyer excelling at right-back, Ben Haim looking solid in central defence and teenager Anthony Edgar scoring two excellent goals, the reserve-team manager is optimistic that the Hammers can return to winning ways following last weekend's disappointing 3-0 reverse at Aston Villa.


"It was a good performance and the boys worked hard," said the older Dyer. "Palace were also good, as they came here and set their stall out with a lot of young players. We had a few senior lads who needed to play and they showed a good attitude, worked hard and it was a good performance overall.

"They came out and gave it their all. We're coming up to the start of the season for the reserves, whereas obviously the first team have already started. The performance at the weekend obviously wasn't that great for the club so there will be players there now who think, if they put in a good performance for the reserves, they could crack on a bit.

"That was my message before the game. I said to them that the first team hadn't played great and there was a chance for any of them who does put in a decent performance to maybe knock on the door a little bit. They did do that - they set the standards and the youngsters followed."

With two weeks to go until Grant has to name his final 25-man squad, competition for first-team places is hotter than ever.

The reserve-team manager believes both Dyer and Ben Haim will be ready to play their part sooner rather than later, while a host of young players will be battling to catch Grant's eye over the coming fortnight.

"There were some good individual performances. Two goals from Anthony Edgar was superb, while Junior Stanislas was good and Holmar Orn Eyjolfsson and Tal Ben Haim worked hard together at the back as a pair.

"Kieron played at right-back and put in a shift and lasted 70 minutes, which was good for him. There were no injury problems there, so it was a good afternoon's work.

"We just protected them a little bit. With Tal going away on international duty, he's just lacking a bit of match fitness, but he's got three or four games under his belt now and for him to do 60 minutes was enough. Hopefully, he'll be around the first team on Saturday.

"Kieron wanted to play at right-back and he put in a good performance. He worked hard, was up and down and made some good runs. He's good with the younger lads and it was nice that he came off when he did with no injury, which was a bonus."