All the early team news and background for Saturday's trip to the Stadium of
Barclays Premier League
Stadium of Light
Saturday 29 March
Referee: Andre Marriner
WHUTV - Pre-match press conference, plus live commentary to come
WESTHAM.WAP.COM - All the news, on the move
* West Ham United, tenth in the Barclays Premier League, go to Sunderland
with the chance to move to within three points of sixth place depending on
results. The home side are in 16th place, four points above the relegation
* Alan Curbishley's men were in good form away from home last Saturday,
earning a 1-1 draw at high-flying Everton and could nearly have snatched
victory but for a late Freddie Sears' effort that struck the post. The club
are still five points ahead of Tottenham Hotspur in eleventh.
* West Ham United have a good recent record at the Stadium of Light, with
two wins and a draw in their last four visits.
* West Ham United's last success at Sunderland was on 4 December 2004 in the
Championship when second-half goals from Marlon Harewood (54) and Teddy
Sheringham (90) secured victory. Anton Ferdinand and Matthew Etherington,
the club's longest serving first-teamers, both started the 2-0 win while
Bobby Zamora was a late substitute.
Everton 1-1 West Ham United (22 March): Green, Neill, Ferdinand, Tomkins,
McCartney, Ljungberg (Solano 80), Parker (Spector 82), Mullins, Noble, Boa
Morte (Sears 50), Ashton
Subs not used: Walker, Cole
Goals: Yakubu 8, Ashton 68
Aston Villa 0-1 Sunderland (22 March): Gordon, Bardsley, Evans, Nosworthy,
Collins, Edwards (Leadbitter 67), Whitehead, Richardson, Reid, O'Donovan
(Chopra 59), Murphy (Yorke 87)
Subs not used: Fulop, Prica.
Goal: Chopra 83
* Bobby Zamora may be in line to return after missing the last two fixtures
with badly blistered feet. Fellow forward Freddie Sears has been struggling
with a groin injury he felt after coming on as a substitute against Everton
and a late decision will be made about his potential involvement against
Sunderland. Carlton Cole should also be available, having been an unused
substitute at Goodison Park.
* Matthew Upson, who had to withdraw from the England squad that faced
France on Wednesday, is not certain of returning after missing out on the
last three fixtures with a calf injury suffered at Liverpool on 5 March.
* James Tomkins deputised at Everton, getting the full 90 minutes on his
first-team debut. Tomkins, who turns 19 with the trip to Sunderland, then
continued his week to remember with two goals for England U19s in a 3-1 win
friendly win against Russia on Tuesday night in Milton Keynes.
* Jonathan Spector had replaced for Upson in the two previous games but was
a late substitute at Everton. Having just helped the US Under-23s to qualify
for the Olympics before the Goodison Park game, he came off the bench for
his country's senior side on Wednesday in their 3-0 friendly win in Poland.
* George McCartney was with Northern Ireland for their home game against
Georgia but missed out on the game as his partner was due to give birth.
* Lucas Neill played the full 90 minutes as Australia made it four points
from two 2010 World Cup qualifiers by earning a 0-0 draw against China in
* John Pantsil, watched by Alan Curbishley, played the full game as Ghana
lost 2-1 to Mexico at Fulham's Craven Cottage.
* Freddie Ljungberg played for an hour as he captained Sweden in a 1-0
friendly defeat by Brazil played at Arsenal's Emirates Stadium.
* While Sears got his second substitute run-out in as many games against
Everton, Jack Collison is also in the manager's thoughts for Sunderland.
* Sears missed out on England U19 duty on Tuesday with that groin injury, a
game that also featured a substitute appearance for 18-year-old midfielder
Junior Stanislas. Collison played for Wales U21s on Wednesday as they won
2-1 in a European Championship qualifier away to Bosnia-Herzegovina.
* Jimmy Walker will again replace Richard Wright as substitute goalkeeper
after his loan to Southampton. Wright kept a clean sheet on his Saints debut
against Coventry City last weekend.
* For Sunderland, Carlos Edwards and Kenwyne Jones are both free to play
despite earlier claims that Trinidad and Tobago would enforce a FIFA rule to
stop them turning out after they missed out on the midweek friendly with
Jamaica. Both men have been suffering of late, Edwards with a groin problem
and Jones from flu. There are also concerns about Danny Collins (dead leg)
and Nyron Nosworthy (ankle)
* After 31 games last season, West Ham United were five points from safety
and had just 26 points compared to the 44 they have achieved from the same
number of matches this campaign.
* West Ham United and Sunderland last met on 21 October 2007 at the Boleyn
Ground. Cole put the home side in front on nine minutes before Jones
equalised seven minutes after the interval. The introduction of Nolberto
Solano helped change the game and five minutes after coming on, he had
forced a 78th-minute own goal by Craig Gordon. Bellamy wrapped up the win in
The lineups were:
West Ham United: Green, Neill (c), Gabbidon, Upson, McCartney, Bowyer, Noble
(Solano 73), Mullins, Etherington (Boa Morte 74), Cole (Ferdinand 84),
Subs not used: Wright, Camara
Sunderland: Gordon, Halford, Nosworthy, Higginbotham, Collins (Harte 80),
O'Donovan (Chopra 46), Leadbitter, Miller, Etuhu, Wallace (Stokes 46), Jones
Subs not used: Ward, Connolly
* United's last trip to the Stadium of Late came on 1 October 2005. Tommy
Miller put the home side in front on the stroke of half-time but Yossi
Benayoun equalised in the 72nd minute.
* The Hammers have still not lost in all 14 league games this season when
they have taken the lead.
* Since the 1-0 win at Fulham on 23 February, West Ham United have conceded
first in each of the following five fixtures. In all of the games, the
opening goal came inside the first 20 minutes.
* Robert Green has kept eight clean sheets in 31 league games.
* George McCartney is bidding to make his 38th appearance this season in all
competitions. He has not missed a match since sitting out the 4-3 home
defeat by Tottenham Hotspur on 4 March 2007 - an unbroken run of 46 games.
* Jonathan Spector is a former team-mate of Sunderland manager Roy Keane,
having played for Manchester United betwen May 2004 and June 2006.
* McCartney is the only West Ham United player who has featured in every
league and cup game to date, starting in each one.
* McCartney spent eight years at Sunderland before joining West Ham United
in August 2006. He made 157 league and cup appearances for the club although
* In terms of the Premier League, only Green has played every minute of the
* Carlton Cole is two cautions away from a ban after picking up eight yellow
cards. The 'one-match ban for five cautions' rule was for all yellow cards
up to the end of February. However, a player receiving ten cautions before
the end of the second Sunday in April will be suspended for two matches,
starting seven days after the tenth offence.
* No Sunderland player has played in every Barclays Premier League game this
season. The club have used 31 players this season - 30 in the top-flight -
compared to West Ham United's 29 overall and 28 in the league.
* Ashton, with eight goals, seven in the league, is the club's leading
scorer. Jones, with 5 in the top-flight alone, is Sunderland's leading
* Hayden Mullins turned 29 on Thursday.
* West Ham United will next be in action on Tuesday 8 April when they
welcome FA Cup semi-finalists Portsmouth. Sunderland are back in London to
face Fulham on Saturday 5 April.
* David Connolly could feature against the club where he scored 14 goals in
48 appearances during the 2003/04 season.
Head to head (Last six Barclays Premier League meetings)
21 October 2007 - West Ham United 3-1 Sunderland
4 February 2006 - West Ham United 2-0 Sunderland
1 October 2005 - Sunderland 1-1 West Ham United
29 April 2005 - West Ham United 1-2 Sunderland
4 December 2004 - Sunderland 0-2 West Ham United
13 March 2004 - Sunderland 2-0 West Ham United
All-time record v Sunderland (all competitions) - W 28, D 19 L 27
Barclays Premier League fixtures (kick-off 3pm unless stated)
Saturday 29 March
Birmingham City v Manchester City
Bolton Wanderers v Arsenal
Derby County v Fulham
Manchester United v Aston Villa (5.15pm)
Portsmouth v Wigan Athletic
Reading v Blackburn Rovers
Sunday 30 March
Chelsea v Middlesbrough (1.30pm)
Liverpool v Everton (4pm)
Tottenham Hotspur v Newcastle United (3pm)
Tickets: For latest information, click here. For details of getting to the
Stadium of Light, click here
Weather: The forecast is for rain. The temperature is set to peak at around
Captain's Blog - Plenty of positives - WHUFC
Lucas Neill gives you the latest from the camp as the squad heads north to
the Stadium of Light
A trio of first-team regulars - namely Dean Ashton, Mark Noble and Scott
Parker - have been singled out after the 1-1 draw at Everton while there are
also good words for James Tomkins, Jack Collison and Freddie Sears ahead of
the Sunderland trip.
Before last week, most teams would have taken a draw against a strong
Everton team with good home form. However, after the game was finished we
felt a little disappointed that we hadn't come away with a victory after
creating more chances than Everton and finishing the game the more dominant
On the whole I thought the team performed very well and in particular Deano,
Nobes and Scotty and, for his first game, James Tomkins looked like he had
been playing in central defence for a lot longer. The game seemed to come
easy to him and he showed maturity beyond his years to get over his initial
nerves and come into his own. Yet again we had another inspiring cameo
performance from young Freddie who was unlucky not to have scored another
winner when he was one-on-one and his effort came back off the post in the
dying seconds of the game.
It is great to have Tomka, Jack and Freddie pushing the rest of the squad.
It was a shame that Freddie picked up a slight knock at the end of the
Everton game so he could not continue his run in the team but we will
hopefully have him back for the crucial six-pointer against Portsmouth. It's
only a matter of time before Jack is given his opportunity again although he
might have to be patient with the competition we currently have for
midfield. A special mention must go to Tomka for his brace for England U19s
in the week. No doubt his debut at Goodison filled him with confidence to go
and play well for the national team which topped off a fantastic week for
This weekend's fixture will be another tough away battle playing against a
Sunderland team who are battling for their Premier League status. Like the
recent game against Fulham, sometimes you just have to scrap out the match
and wait for your chances but after our performance away to Everton we will
be going there in a buoyant mood. The Sunderland manager is someone I have a
lot of respect for as a player and a manager and I have no doubt he will
have his team fired up and determined to get a home victory and three vital
points. But we are just as determined and confident that if we defend well
and put them on the back foot early we will come away with the spoils.
I still believe that sixth place is achievable and if had we won last week
we would have only been three points off it but we still have to play some
of the teams above us, ie Portsmouth and Aston Villa both at home. On paper
all our other games are also winnable and don't overawe us and I include
Manchester United away in that as we seem to be their bogey team of late.
I thank you for your continued support and especially those who made the
trip to Everton last Easter weekend and are making the long trip again to
Sunderland this weekend. We appreciate the many miles you travel to support
us week in and week out and know the best way to thank you is to send you
home with three points.
Back to club business - WHUFC
Alan Curbishley has those on midweek international duty back in the fold for
Saturday's away trip
West Ham United travel to Sunderland on Sunday looking for a second strong
away display in a week after the 1-1 draw at Everton.
The Stadium of Light has been a happy hunting ground for United in recent
years with two wins and a draw from the last four visits while Nolberto
Solano inspired a 3-1 success in the previous meeting at the Boleyn Ground
last October. However, it is not certain that Bobby Zamora or Freddie Sears
will make it with the 18-year-old striker having missed out on England U19
duty in midweek. West Ham United manager Alan Curbishley said: "He is
struggling a little bit. He felt his groin soon after going on at Everton
and played on with it.
"He didn't say anything until afterwards so we have just kept him off it. We
will make a decision. He hasn't trained all this week so we will have to
see." Curbishley added that the knock could explain why Sears hit the post
late on in the game at Goodison Park last Saturday. "If he was feeling his
groin a little bit, then perhaps that's the reason he didn't get away
completely and give himself a bit more time to hit it with the inside of his
There were positive reports for those on senior international duty including
Freddie Ljungberg who played an hour for Sweden against Brazil, Jonathan
Spector with the United States in Poland and Lucas Neill who went to China
with Australia. "[Ljungberg] come off because it was a planned thing, there
is nothing sinister about it ... All the players have come through the
internationals. Lucas got through it all right. George McCartney didn't play
[for Northern Ireland] because his partner went into labour."
The manager revealed he spent Wednesday night watching John Pantsil play for
Ghana against Mexico, having heard positive reports from the previous
evening when James Tomkins scored twice for England U19s in a 3-1 win
against Russia. After his debut at Everton, the defender could celebrate his
19th birthday by retaining his place in the side this weekend as Matthew
Upson is not certain to return alongside Anton Ferdinand.
With regard to the defensive situation alone, Curbishley believed events
this season have underlined the strength in depth. "The squad has become
stronger because there are players who thought they would be under threat
from the new signings who have played a lot of football. Now we know we can
compete in the Premiership so when the others come back we will be stronger.
[Danny] Gabbidon, [James] Collins and Upson are missing. Add them to the
squad and you can see the strength."
Green knows what it takes - WHUFC
As West Ham United push for a high league finish, Rob Green is aware of what
is needed in order to move up
West Ham United head to Sunderland on Saturday looking to keep the pressure
on the teams just above and Robert Green is well aware of what it will take
to compete with the very best.
The club have every chance of a strong finish especially as the sides
currently in sixth and seventh - Portsmouth and Aston Villa - both still
have to come to the Boleyn Ground before the end of the season. A victory
this weekend at the Stadium of Light could potentially move United to within
three points of Portsmouth but the ultimate aim for all is to find a way of
challenging the elite as well.
"You look at it and say they are very good at what they do," Green said.
"They have a game plan and it's very hard to stop it. We have our own game
plan and if everyone's on song then it's fantastic to watch and really good
to play in but it does require a lot of players to be playing well. It's
that consistency that we're looking for to make a difference."
The England goalkeeper played a key role last week at Everton although much
of the second half saw Alan Curbishley's side pushing hard for victory. The
blossoming partnership of Dean Ashton and Freddie Sears, along with the
recent re-introduction of Bobby Zamora to complement Carlton Cole, has
raised hopes the club has the attacking options to match the undoubted
defensive solidity shown this season by Green and the back four.
Green was impressed with the way Ashton coped last week against a resolute
rearguard. "It's a difficult role playing up front on your own," he said.
"There are so many miles to cover and it can be a thankless task really. He
was our main threat throughout the game and then, when Freddie did come on,
he was relishing the chance to lay the balls of for him and, with Freddie,
cause havoc. They did that ... [they were] the width of the post away from
giving us an impressive win."
Sunderland v West Ham - BBC
Satdium of Light
Saturday, 29 March
Kick-off: 1500 GMT
Coverage on the BBC Sport website, BBC Radio Five Live & highlights on Match
of the Day
Sunderland striker Kenwyne Jones could return after recovering from a virus
although international team-mate Carlos Edwards (groin) is rated at only
Danny Collins (dead leg) and Nyron Nosworthy (groin) are expected to retain
their places in the squad, but Dickson Etuhu (knee) will be missing.
West Ham striker Freddie Sears (groin) is struggling to be fit but Bobby
Zamora is expected to return.
Central defender Matthew Upson (calf) is doubtful with a calf injury.
Sunderlandl squad: Gordon, Fulop, Bardsley, Collins, McShane, Evans,
Higginbotham, Harte, Whitehead, Reid, Leadbitter, Edwards, Miller,
Richardson, O'Donovan, Jones, Waghorn, Murphy, Stokes, Chopra, Prica.
West Ham squad: Green, Walker, Neill, Ferdinand, Upson, Tomkins, Spector,
McCartney, Pantsil, Solano, Parker, Mullins, Noble, Collison, Ljungberg, Boa
Morte, Ashton, Zamora, Cole, Sears.
Sunderland enter this match two places and four points above the drop zone;
West Ham are comfortably on course for a seventh top-half finish from their
13th Premier League campaign.
Demotion for the Wearsiders will see them equalling Leicester's record of
five relegations from the top-flight of English league football after
gaining promotion in the previous season. It would also be Sunderland's
third immediate drop from the Premier League.
The Black Cats have lost their last three league fixtures against London
clubs; the Hammers are looking for a third straight victory over North-East
West Ham are hoping to complete their fourth double of the season;
Sunderland are in danger of being doubled for the sixth time this term.
Roy Keane's side have twice as many points as they accrued for the whole of
their last Premier League campaign (30 now, 15 then); West Ham could suffer
their 200th defeat all-time in this league.
West Ham are chasing a third successive Premier League victory over
Sunderland, but they haven't won in this league at the Stadium of Light
since prevailing 0-1 on 19 October 2002, with the aid of a Trevor Sinclair
Highest achievable after Saturday's matches: 13th
Lowest could fall: 17th
All statistics and sequences refer to the Premier League only, unless
1. One win and one goal in five.
2. Scored 27 goals at one every 133 minutes (two hours 13 minutes) on
average; only Derby have an inferior attack (14 goals scored).
3. 74% of their goals have come from open play (20 of 27).
4. Won only one of seven against London opposition this season; the victory
being 1-0 against Tottenham on the seasonal opener on 11 August.
5. Lost the last two home games by 0-1 margins, after winning the previous
four at the Stadium of Light.
6. Gained 18 more points at home than away (24 out of 30). It is the widest
such disparity in this league.
7. The run-in is:-
Manchester City (h)
WEST HAM UNITED
Highest achievable after Saturday's matches: 10th
Lowest could fall: 10th
All statistics and sequences refer to the Premier League only, unless
1. One win in five.
2. Conceded 14 goals in their five matches in March so far.
3. The current tally of 44 points is 18 more than were accumulated after 31
games last season; and already bagged three more points than in total for
the whole of last season.
4. Yet to lose having taken the lead. Won eight, and drawn five of 13 in
which they opened the scoring.
5. Only two of their 34 goals have come direct from outside the penalty
6. Their 31 games have produced just 71 goals (34 for, 37 against). At 2.29,
it is the second lowest goals per game return, just behind Manchester City
7. One win from seven away (0-1, against Fulham on 23 February); and just
one point from the last nine available on the road.
8. Scored a total of three goals in seven on the road.
9. Chasing a seventh away maximum of the campaign.
10. The run-in is:-
Manchester United (a)
Aston Villa (h)
KEY PLAYER NOTES
Kenwyne JONES is Sunderland's top scorer with five Premier League goals.
Michael CHOPRA is one shy of 50 career league goals (Newcastle, Watford,
Barnsley, Cardiff and Sunderland).
Last season's top scorer David CONNOLLY needs one goal to total 100 in his
league career (Watford, Wolves, Wimbledon, West Ham, Leicester, Wigan and
CONNOLLY will be facing a former club. The 30 year old Republic of Ireland
international made 48 appearances (39 in the league) and scored 14 goals (10
league) in one season with West Ham (2003-04).
WEST HAM UNITED
Dean ASHTON is West Ham's top scorer with eight goals.
ASHTON is also the Hammers' top Premier League marksmen with seven.
The club's Premier League goalscorers list is predominately comprised of
English players (nine of 13).
Robert GREEN is the only remaining player to have been on the field for
every minute of every one of West Ham's Premier League matches this season.
Lee BOWYER is a double shy of 50 career Premier League goals (Leeds,
Newcastle and West Ham).
Nol SOLANO needs a double to total 50 Premier League goals (Newcastle, Aston
Villa and West Ham).
Fredrik LJUNGBERG is three shy of 50 Premier League goals (Arsenal and West
George McCARTNEY will be facing a former club. The 26 year old Northern
Ireland international defender started his career with Sunderland, making
157 appearances (134 in the league) in eight years on Wearside from August
James COLLINS will be making his 100th career league appearance (Cardiff and
James TOMKINS will be playing on his 19th birthday.
HEAD TO HEAD
West Ham's last win at the Stadium of Light five seasons ago formed the
foundation for their only Premier League double over Sunderland.
Half of the six home meetings between Sunderland and West Ham have ended all
Home and away
League (inc PL): Sunderland 25 wins, West Ham 23, Draws 17
Prem: Sunderland 3 wins, West Ham 6, Draws 4
at Sunderland only
League (inc PL): Sunderland 17 wins, West Ham 9, Draws 6
Prem: Sunderland 2 wins, West Ham 1, Draws 3
THIS SEASON'S REVERSE FIXTURE
West Ham United 3-1 Sunderland
21 December 2007 - Ref: Chris Foy
West Ham scorers: Cole 9, Gordon 78 og, Bellamy 90
Sunderland scorer: Jones 52
Andre Marriner (West Midlands)
Premier League referees' table
Andre Marriner's 2007-08 Premier League card count
Ashton is solution to Fabio's striker shortage, insists West Ham boss Curbs
- Daily Mail
Last updated at 10:07am on 28th March 2008
Alan Curbishley has told England boss Fabio Capello that Dean Ashton can be
the answer to his problem position in attack. The 24-year old has returned
to form with two goals in West Ham's last two matches against Blackburn and
Everton, and his style of play is ideally suited to operating as the lone
forward in Capello's 4-2-3-1 formation. With the national team lacking bite
up front, Hammers manager Curbishley believes Ashton has the perfect
opportunity to establish himself in planned friendlies against the USA in
May, and Trinidad & Tobago in June. He said: "The friendlies this summer are
a target for our English players who think they have a chance. "The task for
them is to finish the season as strongly as they can, because I know England
staff are watching our games and sending in their reports. "In the last
three matches, Dean has looked really strong, and he has seemed a lot
sharper. It is nice when the goals start going in, as well. "If Dean plays
every game between now and the end of the season, he can look back at the
campaign and think that he has done very well, given the knee problems he
had. "He has played quite a bit of football, nicked a few goals and got
himself back in the groove. Now, he can push on, and he needs to pick up
from where he left off at Everton. "Capello is looking at the England
players, and trying to work out what he has got. I am sure he is looking
forward to having more time with the players. "As we failed to qualify for
Euro 2008, Capello will get that time in the summer."
Curbishley is expected to maintain his policy of introducing West Ham's
promising youngsters in tomorrow's Premier League match at Sunderland.
Striker Freddie Sears could join Ashton up front if he shakes off a groin
injury, while defender James Tomkins and midfielder Jack Collison could also
Curbishley added: "We have seen that both Freddie and James can handle it,
and the Freddie had been playing really well in training."
Jones hopes to fire Black Cats to safety - Setanta
by Craig Kemp, 28 March 2008
Sunderland have received a massive boost with the news that top-scorer
Kenwyne Jones is available for Saturday's visit of West Ham to The Stadium
of Light. Jones missed last week's 1-0 victory at Aston Villa, their first
away win of the season, with a virus and now Roy Keane has the dilemma of
whether to reinstate the five-goal hitman or stick with Daryl Murphy, Roy
O'Donovan or last week's goalscorer Michael Chopra. The Black Cats are four
points away from the drop zone and this is mainly a result of their useful
home form, which has seen them collect 24 of their 30 point total. Despite
losing their last two home fixtures 1-0, against Chelsea and Everton, the
omens are good for Roy Keane's charge as West Ham have only won one of their
last seven away from Upton Park. However in recent times West Ham have a
good record against Sunderland, they are unbeaten and have only conceded two
in their last six mettings. Also The Hammers have a knack of striking late,
as four of their last five league goals against Sunderland have come in the
last 12 minutes of games. League stats favour the home side as Sunderland
have only conceded 15 goals at home this season while West Ham have let in
20 in 2008, a record only beaten by Newcastle. Jones grabbed Sunderland's
goal in the 3-1 defeat in the reverse fixture this season and is a sound
first goalscorer bet at 5-1. But a 1-1 draw is a likely outcome so a bet on
the double is a probable 22-1 chance. Prediction: 1-1
Tomkins set to keep his Hammers place
JAMES Tomkins looks set to keep his place in the West Ham starting line up
for the trip to Sunderland tomorrow. The defender - who turns 19 on the day
of the game - showed his promising potential with an assured debut against
Everton last weekend. And, with Matthew Upson still struggling to overcome a
calf problem, the youngster (pictured) looks set to retain his place at the
heart of the Hammers defence against the Black Cats. However, 18-year-old
striker Freddie Sears is likely to miss out with a groin problem, although
fellow forward Bobby Zamora is expected to return from a knee injury. The
eight Hammers stars who were in international action in midweek have also
come through unscathed. The Irons will go into the match looking to continue
with their recent good form at the Stadium of Light - they've won two and
drawn one of their last four visits.
West Ham: (from) Green, Walker, Neill, Spector, Pantsil, McCartney,
Ferdinand, Tomkins, Mullins, Noble, Parker, Solano, Boa Morte, Collison,
Ljungberg, Ashton, Cole, Zamora.
Paintsil For Aston Villa? - GhanaWeb
English side Aston Villa is interested in West Ham United fullback John
Paintsil. The Mirror newspaper says Villa boss Martin O'Neill is weighing up
a move for the Ghana international. Paintsil has struggled for first team
place since the arrival of manager Alan Curbishley. The prospect of him
gaining a starting place has been made even remote because he has failed to
get a starting place even though there are several injuries in the squad.
Despite this setback Paintsil says his struggling English side will bounce
back next season. "We've had a fresh start this season. I think West Ham
will be the team to watch out for next season," Paintsil said. "Motivation
is not a problem. We've got a lot of injuries in the team and we've lost a
lot of experienced players as well, but those who are playing are showing a
lot of character on the pitch." French side Auxerre are also interested in
West Ham boss Alan Curbishley has dilemma over young stars - The Mirror
By Darren Lewis 28/03/2008
Alan Curbishley is treading carefully between giving more chances to West
Ham's young guns to ensure the club do not finish below archrivals
Teenage striker Freddie Sears, defender James Tomkins and England Under-21
midfielder Mark Noble have brought the feel-good factor back to Upton Park
during an uninspiring campaign from the club's more established stars.
Hammers fans would take a bottom-half finish if it means they get to see
more of the local kids that have excited them. But Curbishley, an East End
boy himself, insists supporters do not want to end up below the old enemy.
He said: "It depends on whether Spurs are likely to finish above us. The
fans won't be too happy about that. We'll have to see. "It's the bigger
picture I must look at. I have no doubts about putting the youngsters in and
if the situation arises I'll do it. I wasn't afraid to do that when I was at
Charlton and I won't be afraid to do it here."
Although Curbishley signed Craig Bellamy, Freddie Ljungberg, Keiron Dyer and
Julien Faubert last summer on big money, it is Sears, a scorer on his debut
against Blackburn two weeks ago, who gets the fans buzzing.