Tony Cottee Column: West Ham striker deserves a start after impressive cameo appearances
“It is a real credit to the striker that he has the ability to come on and change the course of a game.”
It was great to see West Ham get away win number six at the weekend, even though it was in a fortunate fashion.
I couldn’t tell you the last time that the Hammers were in such good away form, but I have to say that Coventry played very well, especially in the first half.
Like many teams this season have and will do, they raised their game to play West Ham and took a deserved lead.
However, Hammers boss Sam Allardyce changed the game with his substitutions and that proved to be key as Carlton Cole and Freddie Piquionne grabbed the crucial goals.
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To say that Piquionne’s goal was lucky is an understatement.
I am pretty sure that we won’t see a luckier goal this season for West Ham.
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Don’t get me wrong, I scored many lucky goals in my career, including one that rebounded in off my chest, and in a way it is nice to see the Hammers get some luck for once, usually it goes against them.
They say that these things even themselves out, and I am sure that will be the case at some point this season.
Once again Cole made a difference when he came on and at the moment he must be a little frustrated.
He is coming on and changing games in the second half, but for some reason Allardyce doesn’t think he is ready to start.
I am sure that he will get a starting role soon and it is a real credit to the striker that he has the ability to come on and change the course of a game.
One reason that I think Cole has been playing so well is John Carew.
The big Norwegian spends the first half tiring out defenders, before Cole comes on and runs at heavy legs, which has proved successful.
However, like I’ve said before, I would like to see Cole partnered with Sam Baldock.
I think the two of those played as out and out strikers would terrify defences, particularly at Upton Park.
Away from home, I can understand the need to sometimes play one lone striker, and it seems that Baldock is being tried in a slightly wider role on the right, but I think that he is less effective when playing there.
However, Allardyce has plenty of attacking options with his four strikers, so he must be pleased that they can all offer different threats.
This weekend, West Ham welcome Derby County to Upton Park for a Saturday evening kick-off.
I know that these kick-off times can sometimes be annoying for fans as it ruins their Saturday nights, but it brings crucial TV money into the club, and every little helps at the moment.
However, I think that the Hammers can maintain their winning run against a struggling Derby side.
After a good start, Derby have faded recently and they will be looking to frustrate the Hammers, but I think that we should have too much for them on the night.
I don’t think that they will approach the game like Bristol City and come and park the bus, and in Nigel Clough they have a good manager, so it should be an entertaining game.
It is important that West Ham win as the following Tuesday we travel to Middlesbrough.
I think that most fans would take a point at the Riverside and it is important that we keep a gap between ourselves in second and the team in third.
Tony Cottee was talking to Nathaniel John
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