May 21 2013 Latest news:
Tony Cottee, London24 West Ham columnist
Thursday, January 5, 2012
“He has had many chances this season and in the Premier League and he hasn’t been good enough.”
I think that every West Ham fan breathed a sigh of relief when the Hammers managed to beat Coventry on Monday, and it gave everyone a much-needed boost after what had been not the greatest festive period for the club.
Most fans would have taken a point at Birmingham City on Boxing Day before the game due in part to their unbeaten home record, but it was the manner in which West Ham drew.
Creating that many chances and not killing the opposition off came back to haunt the Hammers when Birmingham equalised.
That draw was then followed up on New Year’s Eve by a terrible first 10 minutes at Derby, but West Ham bounced back with three vital points against Coventry.
It wasn’t the prettiest of games, but I didn’t expect it to be, as all that was important was those points.
What made the victory even better was that Southampton and Middlesbrough both lost, meaning that we went back into second place, level on points with the Saints.
Once again it was the captain Kevin Nolan that popped up with the all-important goal, his seventh of the season, and it was the perfect answer to those that have been criticising his form this season.
I will admit that Kevin hasn’t been playing at his best so far, but the best thing for him to do is to keep working hard and banging in the goals and I am sure that his form will improve.
We created a lot of chances against Coventry and just couldn’t seem to put them away, but I am not that worried as at least we are creating them.
It’s not like we are fashioning just two opportunities and coming away with a 1-0 win.
Having said that, I do think that we need to bring in another striker to the club.
For me, Carlton Cole and Sam Baldock should be the first-choice partnership to lead the line and the more they play together the more they will understand each other and score more goals.
However, if the forward line keeps changing then the strikers do not get settled and find it hard to build match fitness, so I hope that Sam Allardyce now sticks with those two.
If proven goalscorers are available this month then the club should look at them, but I would like to see Sam Baldock become the number one striker at West Ham.
Having said that, the more options you have, the stronger your squad becomes.
Allardyce has been rather critical of John Carew and Freddie Piquionne recently and I can understand why as they haven’t really performed well this season.
Carew came to the club without a pre-season under his belt, so was always behind the rest of the squad.
He linked up well with Baldock for a few games but then he got injured and that has hampered him.
I would like to see him stay at the club as he is a good option to use from the bench as he can cause a lot of damage in the final moments of a game.
However, I think that it really is the time for Piquionne to move on.
He has had many chances this season and in the Premier League and he hasn’t been good enough.
On his day, he can be a good player, but he just hasn’t done it consistently enough and I would be all for selling him in the transfer window.
With the likelihood that a couple of players will join the club this month, I don’t want to see any of our best talents leave.
James Tomkins has been linked with a couple of clubs and he is an outstanding defender.
However, I am fed up of seeing West Ham sell their best players, it has to stop.
Unless we get a ridiculous offer from someone, then we just shouldn’t sell him, although I would not be opposed to seeing some of our fringe players head for the exit.
This weekend, the Hammers head to Hillsborough to face Sheffield Wednesday in the FA Cup, and I think it will be a tough game with both teams going for promotion in their respective leagues.
I think that Allardyce may change a few things around selection wise, and can see West Ham having to settle for a replay, which would suit me just fine, as it would mean I could make a trip to Upton Park to watch the game!
Tony Cottee was talking to Nathaniel John