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The Cottee Column: Papering over the cracks

PUBLISHED: 13:14 31 December 2013 | UPDATED: 13:15 31 December 2013

Archant

A great game for the neutral but not for us Hammers

I was at the West Brom game on Saturday and I have to say that for the neutral it had just about everything, but for us Hammers it was a must-win game and we didn’t win it.

The game ebbed and flowed from one way to the other, but what probably cost us on the day was the fact that we have lost all three of our centre halves.

I don’t think any team – even the likes of Man City – could cope with the loss of their top three centre backs, but though it is bad luck to lose them, you have to say that serious questions need to be asked about our transfer policy in the summer.

To go into a new season with only three centre backs and with your top striker injured just doesn’t make sense and this needs to be addressed as to who is sorting it out.

Saying that, injuries do happen and I remember being without Tony Gale, Billy Bonds and Alvin Martin at the same time on occasions, when the likes of Ray Stewart and Neil Orr would have to play as emergency centre halves for us, so it is nothing new.

The problem is that we are not going to get these defenders back straight away and Sam either has to persist with his full backs there, delve into the development squad, or use some of his budget to bring someone in at the start of the window as well as a striker.

It was good to see Kevin Nolan score on Saturday. He has had a tough time and it is obvious that he is not the same player without Andy Carroll up there with him.

He is a good captain, but when he is not scoring you start to question what his worth is to the team, so hopefully he can now go on a run of scoring which will do him and the team good.

Maiga played well again, though I don’t think Carlton Cole had done much wrong in the first half, but both these players need to find the consistency to do the business for 90 minutes and for a few games, rather than every now and again, so there is still work to do.

We can’t afford to lose to Fulham

It is Fulham at the Cottage this afternoon and this will be another vital game for us.

I watched the highlights of their match at Hull City and they were dreadful in the second half, but the good thing about Christmas is you have only a short time to wait to put things right.

There will either be wholesale changes for them or a completely different attitude, but either way they will be a tough proposition for West Ham.

We will go into the game without a centre half and that will be worrying. There are must-win games, but I would say that this is a must not lose game, so I will go for a 1-1 draw.

I have to say that I am worried about our position, but I would be a lot more worried if it was March and not January.

We have time to put things right and also the window to bring in new players and I think we have the quality to get out of trouble.

Happy New Year to all us Hammers!

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