Tony Cottee: If West Ham sell Spurs target Scott Parker they will go down

Midfielder is the Hammers most important player

If we sell Scott Parker we might as well turn the lights out and prepare for the Championship. It’s as simple as that.

Of course these are just rumours and nothing more at the moment. You don’t know how truthful they are, but he signed a long-term contract just last summer and the owners promised he would not leave.

It was always a possibility he would be linked with teams well-placed in the table. He’s an excellent player currently turning out for a side in the relegation zone.

And if the Hammers continue to fail to create chances away from home, it is unlikely we will be leaving the bottom three any time soon.

Sunday’s match was little bit of ‘After the Lord Mayors show’ following the brilliant performance and win over United the previous Wednesday and I felt the Hammers really struggled to get going, string passes together and build any kind of momentum.

Of course it was always going to be tough at Sunderland, we may have beaten them there in the Carling Cup earlier in the season, but in the league they are unbeaten.

Most Read

I think when you get on a run like the one we are on you almost expect to lose. Football is a game of habits and we have certainly picked up a bad one at the moment.

Sixteen months without an away win is simply unacceptable and points on the road will be vital come the end of the season.

Sunday again showed how important Mark Noble is to this side and how big a miss he is when he is not in the team.

He is our big creative and force and the fact we only had on shot on goal shows how little we created.

We desperately need to bring in another playmaking midfielder in Januray, but a good one is not easy to find and certainly not cheap.

I was a little surprised to see Keiron Dyer given the start ahead of Pablo Barrera, who I felt played particularly well against United.

Carlton Cole was another who was excellent in the Carling Cup, which makes his showing against Sunderland even more disappointing.

I was pleased to see him given another chance to impress but it just did not go right for him on Sunday, but with a lack of chances created it is always going to be difficult for him to score.

I really believe he needs to play six games on the trot to regain his sharpness in front of goal and I feel we should try to get more crosses into the box for him to get on the end of.

Despite the defeat there were positives and after some dodgy performances in defence this season, the back-line played well and the goal aside, Sunderland rarely threatened throughout the 90 minutes.

James Tomkins was our best player on the park and I was delighted to see him play so well.

He has made high profile errors in the early stages of his career. Last season was difficult for him, but it is all a learning process for him, but I feel he can establish himself as West Ham’s number one centre half and be a future star with England.

Tony Cottee was talking to Matt Diner