Tony Cottee Column: I’m sorry to see Baldock go
Whoever forms the West Ham attack will enjoy plenty of service from Matt Jarvis
West Ham manager Sam Allardyce made 10 changes to his starting line-up for the game against Crewe on Tuesday evening – and I’m fully in favour of what he did.
The League Cup – or Capital One Cup, as it is now known – has changed a lot since my playing days, when a manager would always pick his best team for every game.
But now, especially in the early rounds, it represents a good opportunity to give fringe members of the squad and the younger players a chance to show what they can do.
Of course, it’s a policy that can backfire on the night – as we saw when the Hammers lost at home to Aldershot last season.
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But every Premier League manager does it now and if you can get through to the later stages then obviously you can start to play your strongest team.
It was fitting that Nicky Maynard was pictured on the cover of the official programme for the game because he duly scored West Ham’s opener against the club where he began his career.
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There’s been speculation about the striker’s future, but I hope he stays at West Ham because you need at least four quality strikers in your squad.
Nicky can score goals. I saw him a lot when he was playing for Bristol City and he’s a good finisher, as he proved with his strike against Crewe.
He hasn’t had a real run in the team, but that goal will certainly help his case.
Another striker who didn’t get too many starts following his arrival last season was Sam Baldock – who I was disappointed to see leave the club last week.
I certainly believe he’s a talent, but it was difficult for him last season because West Ham had so many strikers.
We had a win at all costs mentality to try and get out of the Championship and circumstances just didn’t work in his favour.
I know people sometimes likened him to me, but I think it’s unfair to compare players from different eras.
But I wish him the very best of luck at Bristol City and I’m sure he’ll score lots of goals for them.
Modibo Maiga scored West Ham’s second goal in the 2-0 win against Crewe and that will certainly help his confidence, especially after failing to take that late chance on his debut against Aston Villa on the opening day of the season.
It’s not easy for some of the foreign players because they need time to adjust to our style of football.
The game in France, where Maiga has been playing, is not the same as here, but if West Ham want to do well they need Maiga to hit the ground running and score goals.
Assistant boss Neil McDonald admitted on Tuesday that the club was still looking to add to their striking options.
We’ll know the outcome by Thursday evening, when the transfer window closes, but I must admit I’d love to have seen them go for Michael Owen or push the boat out to sign Andy Carroll.
Whoever forms the West Ham attack this season will certainly enjoy plenty of service from Matt Jarvis, who was signed in a �10m-plus deal from Wolves last week.
I’m a huge fan of Matt and it’s up the strikers to take full advantage of the crosses he’ll be supplying from the flank.
I know he cost a lot of money, but he’s an England international who has the potential to play for his country many more times in the future.
The winger made his debut in the 3-0 defeat at Swansea last weekend and it’s hard to judge how things might have gone had West Ham not made those mistakes to gift Swansea two first-half goals.
Jussi Jaaskelainen could have done better with the first goal and James Collins will certainly think the same about his back-pass that led to the second.
After that it was always going to be an uphill task, although I have to say the reaction from the team in the second half wasn’t as good as I expected.
But I believe they can bounce back against Fulham, who have lost some key players but still pose a threat.
West Ham a very difficult period coming up in November and December, so they’ve got to make the most of these early games – especially at home.