Match Preview - Saints v West Ham

Last updated : 26 January 2002 By Christian Kelly

The last time these two sides met, both managers were in perilous positions. West Ham won and Stuart Gray was subsequently dismissed form the club.

Still, things have worked out well; Saints are revitalised under new boss Gordon Strachan and Glenn Roeder has steadied the ship at West Ham. Even Stuart Gray did well, getting a nice compensation cheque and landing a coaching position at Aston Villa.

In previous encounters at the Dell Saints have the edge winning 18 to the Hammers 10 from 40 encounters. Check out the head to head section for details on all these as well as stats and records.

Southampton-Mad asked our West Ham counterpart a few questions about the upcoming fixture. Here's what Mike Reich had to say:-

Do you think that Glenn Roeder has done a good job at the club?
Glenn Roeder wasn't the fans choice for the job, but he has done well in the short period of time he has had. He has brought in some quality players in David James, Hutchison and Repka, and hopefully Labant. Our defence is the tightest in the Premiership at home, but he needs to sort out the away record - which is the worst in the league.
Has the Di Canio situation unsettled the team in any way?
Well it can't have helped. Paolo has the unique ability to win a match single-handedly, as he did for us against Leicester. However, he can also have off-games, or stinkers (like at Chelsea). The Chelsea match was over before he saw red, his first sending off since he came to West Ham incidentally, but it was still a poor example for the captain to set.
Do you think that you'll beat Chelsea in the cup after the league defeat?
West Ham can beat anyone on their day. We have beaten Manchester United twice in the last year at Old Trafford, we have got points off Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool too. If we play as a unit, with the passes going to claret 'n' blue not the blues, we have every chance of victory.
Which players should we look out for?
Paolo di Canio is an obvious one, and Joe Cole is really starting to come into his own at the moment. He is to be seen all over the pitch, and can turn a match with a quick bit of skill. However, the most dangerous player on the pitch is Jermian Defoe. He can grab a goal completely against the run of play - a lethal weapon to have.
Who are the best and worst players in your squad at the moment?
David James is performing very well (the Chelsea thrashing was poor defending not poor goalkeeping), as is Joe Cole in general. Freddie Kanoute has still not recovered since getting injured in December, and looks really lazy and dis-interested at the moment. Also, club record singing Tomas Repka, a central defender, is going through a poor patch at the moment.
What do you think the score will be?
With West Ham's away record, we won't keep a clean sheet, but if Jermain comes on we should get at least one goal. I'll go for an optimistic 2-1 win for West Ham, to get our Premiership record back on the road.
Do you think that Winterburn should be kept at the club for another year?
With the recent signing of Vladimir Labant, a left back (or wing-back or midfielder) we have more options on the left than we have had for years, with Laurent Courtois a left footer as well. Nigel is not really the required standard for the top teams (such as Manchester United, Liverpool etc), but is certainly a useful squad player. Our squad is really thin, and Glenn could do a lot worse than retain Nige's services for one final year.
How would you improve the club's fortunes?
We need to spend more money on players. Our squad is really thin, with up front the only place where there is any real competition for places, between Jermain, Paolo and Freddie. We need a decent right back (Schemmel is not Premiership standard, although what he lacks in skill he at least attempts to make up for in effort), and another centre-back - although Ian Pearce is on his way back from injury, and he would be the ideal candidate to partner Tomas Repka, providing he can stay fit. When Ian properly recovers from his knee injury, it will be just like signing a new player.

So there you have it, everyone coming to St. Marys and expecting a result. Of course, I think the Saints will run out 2-0 victors. Let's hope I call this one better than I have the last two.