Reserve judgement over Pahars comeback no.38

Last updated : 11 January 2006 By Chris C
He scored with a well taken volley from inside the box in an otherwise quiet performance. He was clearly still concerned to avoid injury, but came through 60 minutes unscathed, albeit still with some pain in his knee.

Pahars was upbeat about his slow return to fitness: "The knee is not 100 per cent yet and it could still be painful for a few weeks or even months. But I have played through pain before and know all about that so I just have to get on with it.

"It is just a matter of time before it settles completely. I am training all the time now and it was good to get an hour last night. My fitness is getting there and if the manager needs me then I am ready."

With a reported player plus cash deal falling through for Robert Earnshaw, Saints could do with a return to fitness for their former top scorer. However, with so many false dawns, Burley is making the hunt for a new striker a top priority. Saints were today linked with a move for Leicester target man Mark de Vries and a loan move for Man Utd youngster Rossi.

Also in impressive form was new signing Polish boy mountain Bialkowski keeping Saints in the game against a well drilled West Ham side, with a string of acrobatic saves. At just 18 he is still very young for a keeper, but if he can keep up this level of performance, then he will be putting pressure on Paul Smith for his new found number one spot.