Bellamy back in the old routine
PUBLISHED: 11:50 04 September 2008 | UPDATED: 13:35 05 October 2010
By JONATHAN CLEGG CRAIG BELLAMY roared back to action for West Ham last weekend with a vintage display that showed that foot and mouth are back in working order. The Wales striker came off the bench against former club Blackburn and was booked within minu
By JONATHAN CLEGG
CRAIG BELLAMY roared back to action for West Ham last weekend with a vintage display that showed that foot and mouth are back in working order.
The Wales striker came off the bench against former club Blackburn and was booked within minutes of his arrival for showing dissent to a linesman - before racing clear in stoppage time to volley home his first Premier League goal for 10 months.
The 29-year-old has been sidelined with a hamstring strain for the past four weeks but Hammers boss Alan Curbishley later remarked that his 20-minute cameo appearance was classic Bellamy.
"It was typical Craig," said Curbishley. "He goes on for 20 minutes, gets booked and scores a goal. That's normal."
Bellamy's quick running and clever movement gave West Ham attacking impetus when Blackburn were in the ascendancy and reminded the Upton Park crowd what they were missing last season, when he was limited to a handful of appearances.
Despite being limited to a late outing as a substitute, his impact also reinforced Curbishley's belief that the diminutive forward will give his team an extra dimension when he makes a full recovery.
"We needed what he gave us but we can't rush him back. He was pressed into action [on Saturday] because of the situation.
"He's only had 20 minutes in a month and ideally we would have liked him to have a bit more training but the situation we were in today we needed him around.
"I looked at him a couple of times and said, 'Look, let's do it' and he wanted to wait another five minutes, then another five minutes.
"But I think we all know what we've got with him and whoever he plays with and whenever he plays it gives us something different."
Bellamy was due to link up with Wales this week for the World Cup qualifiers against Azerbaijan on Saturday and Russia four days later but he has now withdrawn from the squad in a bid to improve his fitness ahead of West Ham's visit to West Bromwich Albion next weekend.
The Hammers hit-man will now look to build up his sharpness in a specially arranged friendly match next week and Curbishley can begin to contemplate fielding the dynamic team he has always promised the club's supporters.
He said: "When we can get the full squad together we've got a bit of pace and we can get around the pitch but I've never been that fortunate [because of injuries].
"It looks like we've got a few new players in some respects. Faubert's only played six, Behrami just arrived a month ago, so we're all bedding in still. But Bellamy obviously makes a big difference.