|An archive of Cockney Hammer's West Ham-related daily news digests.
West Ham’s Corl of duty
WEST HAM are set to sign Spurs right-back Vedran Corluka on loan until the end of the season.
The Croatia star has played just three Premier League games for Tottenham this season due to the emergence of Kyle Walker.
Corluka is desperate to play first-team football — fearing that more time on the sidelines will jeopardise his Euro 2012 place.
The Hammers have pipped Serie A outfit Roma to get their man.
Hammers chairman David Sullivan says the club have made bids for three players already this window.
But fans should not pin their hopes on getting any big-name signings. Sullivan said: "It's not easy to acquire key players clubs don't want to lose."
West Ham 1 Coventry 0
KEVIN NOLAN got West Ham's strikers off the hook by firing the club joint top of the table.
The midfielder, back from suspension, bagged his SEVENTH goal of the season after his Hammers team-mates missed a glut of chances.
Only a worse goal difference stopped them snatching top spot from Southampton.
But until Nolan's 66th-minute strike, the Upton Park faithful had expected better against the only team in the Championship still searching for their first away win.
Time and again West Ham were denied in front of goal by poor finishing or some fine saves from Coventry keeper Joe Murphy.
Hammers boss Sam Allardyce admitted: "It's a crucial three points and a big game because the FA Cup is next week and we now don't play in the league for 12 days.
"Middlesbrough and Southampton have slipped up and we've gained three points on them, which makes it that little bit sweeter.
"We had TWENTY-TWO attempts on goal and scored once!
"That conversion rate isn't good enough and I was getting worried in the last embers of the game that we wouldn't get what we deserved.
"We were all relieved when we saw it go in.
"We were all wondering whether it was going to happen for us today, given how many chances we created and how good their keeper was."
The Hammers had taken just four points from 15 before this game.
And Allardyce had challenged his misfiring squad to start scoring the goals needed to get their promotion bid back on track.
So concerned about the team not being clinical enough in front of goal, Big Sam is still determined to sign a forward during this month's transfer window — along with at least one other player.
He said: "Our real problems, apart from not scoring enough, have been the amount of injuries and suspensions which have devastated our defensive line.
"In an ideal world I'd bring in two quality players — a forward and defender.
"And if it ended up three, then a wide player as well."
It was West Ham who started the brightest. Jack Collison, another who made the difference on his return from suspension, saw an effort blocked by Chris Hussey as early as the ninth minute.
But, within seconds, the Hammers were forced to go on the defensive themselves as Robert Green produced a great save to deny Richard Wood.
Striker Sam Baldock was soon surging forward, only to see one chance again denied by the dogged Hussey before sending another wide of Murphy's goal.
Baldock also had a shot cleared off the line by Murphy on the 58th minute from a swinging corner by Collison.
Then up stepped Nolan to save the day, heading the ball into the back of the net after James Tomkins flicked it on to him from a George McCartney cross.
The Sky Blues, despite some fine defending, rarely threatened themselves. Their best effort came just two minutes from time when Carl Baker's shot from a Gary McSheffrey corner was cleared to safety by Tomkins.
Coventry boss Andy Thorn said: "I'm disappointed we didn't get something. There's such a gulf between the two clubs in terms of the players and finances — but it didn't look massive today."
SUN STAR MAN KEVIN NOLAN (West Ham). Easily the Championship's best midfielder.
West Ham 1-0 Coventry: Daily Mirror match report
Sam Allardyce is ready to hit the January sales in a bid to solve West Ham’s goalscoring problems.
The Hammers boss has already had bids rejected for Bristol City’s Nicky Maynard, Huddersfield hot-shot Jordan Rhodes and Cardiff’s Peter Whittingham.
Allardyce was also forced to concede defeat in his pursuit of Tottenham winger Andros Townsend, who has joined Leeds on loan for the rest of the season.
Kevin Nolan’s strike finally saw off basement boys Coventry and took the Hammers joint-top of the Championship with Southampton.
But Allardyce is still desperate to find a frontman to fire his side into the Premier League. “It’s an area we’re looking at purely and simply because we had 22 attempts at goal against Coventry and scored one and that conversion rate is just not good enough,” complained Big Sam.
“Against Birmingham in the first half, we created six or seven chances and didn’t score the second goal and ended up with a draw.
“Our conversion rate is not good enough at the moment.
“It was all right at the start of the season, because we were scoring three or four.
“Now we’re only getting one. We need to start changing that to twos and threes again.”
Truth be told, West Ham might have had four or five had it not been for a stunning display by Coventry keeper Joe Murphy, who produced a number of top-drawer saves to keep his side in it.
The former Scunthorpe stopper denied James Tomkins and George McCarthy during a dire first half, while Julien Faubert fired wide from 25 yards. The visitors barely threatened although Lukas Jutkiewicz should have done better with his header from close-range after meeting Richard Keogh’s cross.
It was a rare moment of promise for the Sky Blues, who were given another let-off when Sam Baldock fired wide from 12 yards after connecting with Carlton Cole’s cross.
Baldock was denied once again just minutes later as Murphy somehow blocked the striker’s header on the line, before pulling off a breathtaking save to leave Jack Collison scratching his head.
But there was nothing Murphy could do when Tomkins met McCarthy’s cross and Nolan headed home from six yards to finally break Coventry’s resistance with 24 minutes remaining.
Substitute Frank Nouble scored his first West Ham goal at Derby on New Year’s Eve.
He should have got his second late on after seizing on a poor back pass by Richard Wood but the forward could only shoot straight at Murphy with Mark Noble firing the rebound wide.
Big Sam’s boys survived a late scare when Carl Baker’s effort was deflected against the bar by Tomkins, but they held on to put the pressure on the suddenly vulnerable Saints.
Allardyce added: “We were all relieved because we were wondering if it was going to happen on the basis of the chances we created and how good their goalkeeper was.
“We played very, very well and the only thing I can criticise the lads for is not winning by more goals.”
Coventry are now rock bottom and gaffer Andy Thorn said: “I couldn’t ask for anything else from the lads. We’ve had a good Christmas both points-wise and performance-wise but I’m disappointed with the result.
“When you come to a place like this there’s such a gulf between the two clubs – but I didn’t think it was as massive on the pitch.
WEST HAM 1 COVENTRY 0: SAM VOWS TO STRIKE A SALES DEAL
SAM ALLARDYCE is set to shop around for a new striker in the January sales, after watching West Ham stutter to a nervous win over strugglers Coventry.
West Ham should have won at a canter yesterday – instead they were left holding on for dear life late on following Kevin Nolan’s second-half header.
Despite their second win in six games, the Hammers boss will step up his chase for a new hitman.
Top of his list is the prolific Jordan Rhodes, but with Huddersfield insisting he is not for sale, Bristol City’s Nicky
Maynard is also on Allardyce’s radar.
And after being put through the mill once again, Allardyce said: “The striking department is an area we are looking at. That is purely and simply as we had 22 attempts at goal and scored just one.
“That conversion rate is not good enough. We need to start changing that to two and three goals again.
“Against Birmingham in the first-half we created six or seven chances and didn’t score a second and ended up with a draw.
“We are all relieved as I was wondering if it was going to happen again on the basis of chances created and how good their goalkeeper was.
“But we played very well and the only thing I can criticise the lads for is not winning by more.”
West Ham have seen their promotion push stall in recent weeks.
And they were their own worst enemies for long periods here as they fluffed their lines with the goal at their mercy over and over again.
Sam Baldock and James Tomkins were among the guilty men, while Coventry keeper Joe Murphy played his part with a string of saves.
Nolan finally made the breakthrough when he nodded home Tomkins’ towering header in the 66th minute.
But a failure to kill off the visitors was always lingering, as substitute Frank Nouble and Mark Noble continued to waste clear chances.
And the Hammers should have been punished as Sky Blues substitute Shaun Jeffers headed wide, before Carl Baker struck the crossbar in the dying minutes.
Coventry chief Andy Thorn, who saw his side slump to the foot of the Championship, said: “There is a gulf in class between the two clubs, but there was not much difference here.
“We were low on numbers, but the players gave me everything.
“We’ve had a good Christmas points wise and performance wise.
“But we are disappointed with the result here.”
Head boy: West Ham midfielder Kevin Nolan scores the only goal of the game
Delight: Kevin Nolan (centre) celebrates with his team-mates after scoring
Back of the net: Nolan (right) powers his header in at the back post
Tussle: Hammers midfielder Mark Noble (left) holds off Carl Baker
West Ham 1 Coventry 0: Nolan pilfers win for Allardyce
Rarely can Kevin Nolan' s uncanny knack for pilfering priceless goals have been as gratefully received as is was on Monday, when it left West Ham trailing the Championship leaders only on goal difference.
The midfielder stooped to head home a 66th-minute winner just as frustration was beginning to turn into unease at Upton Park.
The fans' patience with and belief in West Ham manager Sam Allardyce will always be strong as long as a return to the Barclays Premier League is likely.
When the results begin to wane, as they did in December, substance over style doesn't carry the same weight of argument.
West Ham: Green, Faubert, Reid, Tomkins, McCartney, Diop, Nolan, Noble, Collison, Cole (O'Brien 90), Baldock (Nouble 73).
Subs Not Used: Boffin, Carew, Lansbury.
Goals: Nolan 66.
Coventry: Murphy, Cranie, Keogh, Wood, Hussey, Bell (Bigirimana 67), Deegan, McSheffrey, Thomas, Baker, Jutkiewicz (Jeffers 69).
Subs Not Used: Dunn, McPake, Willis.
Referee: Simon Hooper (Wiltshire).
Being held goalless by a side who started the day 23rd in the table was gnawing at the first capacity crowd of the season - 34,936 - at the Boleyn Ground when Nolan struck.
West Ham almost scored three times in a madcap five minutes at the start of the second half, yet that momentum was starting to peter out when the magnificent James Tomkins guided a header towards the far post for Nolan to convert.
Suddenly, everything was sweetness and light again, the new year invested with expectation and hope and misgivings about a lack of domination over a Coventry side beset with injuries pushed to the back of the mind.
Allardyce said: 'We were all relieved when we saw the goal go in because we were all wondering
whether it was going to happen. I was beginning to worry we wouldn't get what we thoroughly deserved today. It was a big game to win because we don't play again in the League for two weeks.'
The first half was almost devoid of goalmouth incident.
What there was early on involved Coventry left back Chris Hussey who, within 60 seconds, sent a sweet left-foot strike fizzing inches wide then blocked a goalbound Jack Collison shot at the other end.
As the ball sprang free, Nolan found himself similarly thwarted by keeper Joe Murphy.
Coventry attempted to launch counter attacks with pace, a contrast to West Ham's more laboured probing, but both teams showed a similar lack of quality touches and imagination in the areas that matter.
It took until the hour mark for the home side to exert pressure worthy of the Premier League to which they aspire.
Sam Baldock ought to have scored instead of dragging a shot wide before he saw his header brilliantly tipped out from under his bar by Murphy.
Moments later, the keeper sprang to his left to beat away a Collison header.
After Nolan relieved the tension with his goal, substitute Frank Nouble saw his shot charged down by the alert Murphy.
The miss almost proved costly in the 90th minute, when Tomkins bravely threw his body in the path of a Carl Baker shot and could only watch as the deflection arched up and landed on top of the West Ham bar.
The result means Coventry are bottom of the table again, and their manager, Andy Thorn, said: 'We knew coming into this period that we were short on numbers but I cannot ask for any more effort from the players. I'm disappointed we didn't get a result.'
West Ham beat Coventry but seek a forward to cure their striking flaws
West Ham United 1
Coventry City 0
The West Ham United striker Carlton Cole, right, holds off Coventry City's Carl Baker at Upton Park. Photograph: Peter Cziborra/Action Images
The pursuit of promotion was never going to be pretty under Sam Allardyce but that has never been the point. The arch‑pragmatist was hired to achieve a return to the Premier League by any means necessary and this blustery victory, coupled with the defeat of Middlesbrough, restored them to the automatic promotion spots, after a rocky festive period. Although the lack of finesse in the performance did not bother Allardyce, the profligate finishing did – and he confirmed he is seeking a cure in the transfer market.
West Ham United forced many chances against their relegation-threatened visitors but were thwarted by their own wayward shooting and an excellent display by the Coventry City goalkeeper, Joe Murphy. Their failure to add to Kevin Nolan's 66th‑minute goal left them to endure a tense finale, during which Coventry rallied and almost struck an equaliser, Karl Baker's deflected shot in the 90th minute bouncing off the crossbar.
"We played very well and the only thing I can criticise the lads for is not winning by more goals," said Allarydce, who did not comment on reports linking him with strikers such as Fulham's Bobby Zamora and Doncaster Rovers' Billy Sharp, but did confirm he is seeking a new forward. "It's an area we're looking to strengthen because our conversion rate has just not been good enough. We had 22 chances today but only scored once, it was the same in the last two games and it's been costing us."
The manager made no effort to spare the feelings of John Carew and Frédéric Piquionne, both of whom were omitted against Coventry: "They have not been good enough when given the chance."
The co-chairman David Sullivan claimed in the programme that the club has already made bids for three players as it seeks to recruit as early as possible during the transfer window. "Ideally we will get a forward, a defender and a wide player because we have no natural width in the team," said Allardyce. "We tried to get Andros Townsend [from Tottenham Hotspur] but couldn't."
West Ham reaped the benefits of an influx of players against Coventry, as four regulars who were suspended forthe weekend defeat against Derby County returned. The effect was far from immediate, as West Ham were something of a rabble in the first half, their propensity to punt hopefully from deep towards Carlton Cole seldom troubling the next to bottom side, who posed a threat on the counter-attack, Chris Hussey firing just wide from the edge of the area from the game's first chance.
Murphy did have to make some fine saves in the first period, notably blocking a Mark Noble shot in the 10th minute and then, from the ensuing corner, diving to tip away an effort by James Tomkins.
Corners were West Ham's biggest source of menace, each one provoking skirmishes in the Coventry box, but the home side could not scramble the ball past Murphy. At last, in the 66th minute, George McCartney sent a long diagonal cross to the back post and Tomkins headed back across goal for Nolan, left, to nod into the net.
A late mistake by Richard Wood gave the substitute Frank Nouble a chance to embellish West Ham's lead but Murphy again proved unbeatable, leaving the hosts to tremble as Coventry's late rally culminated in Baker striking the bar. West Ham had done enough. That is all that matters for them this season.
West Ham United 1 Coventry City 0:
No wonder West Ham are looking at bringing in strikers this month. After a dominant but profligate display, manager Sam Allardyce admitted that recruiting forwards is on the agenda because their goalscoring record is “just not good enough”.
Doncaster’s Billy Sharp, Bristol City’s Nicky Maynard and Fulham’s Bobby Zamora have all been linked with the club, who failed in a bid to sign Andros Townsend on loan from Tottenham.
Co-chairman David Sullivan also confirmed the club have “made bids for three players that the manager has identified”.
A header from Kevin Nolan on his return from suspension settled this contest, nodding in from close range after James Tomkins had headed George McCartney’s cross back across the goal.
The result moved West Ham back up to second and behind Southampton only on goal difference. But Allardyce said: “We were all wondering if it was going to happen, looking at how many chances we created and how good their goalkeeper [Joe Murphy] was.”
When asked about signing strikers this month, Allardyce said: “It’s an area we’re looking at. Our conversion rate is not good enough.”
Despite their struggles to find goals, John Carew was again left unused on the bench and the West Ham manager said: “When he’s had the chance he hasn’t been good enough, the same as Frédéric Piquionne.”
It was frustrating for the home side who enjoyed the lion share of possession but could not score. West Ham were almost made to pay for their lack of cutting edge when Carl Baker had a shot deflected on to the bar late on.
After successive wins, this defeat means Coventry are now propping up the table but manager Andy Thorn is still upbeat. He said: “We were excellent. But look at the calibre of players that West Ham brought on. They are going to be up there.”
West Ham (4-4-2): Green; Faubert, Tomkins, Reid, McCartney; Nolan, Collison, Diop, Noble; Cole (O’Brien 90), Baldock (Nouble 72).
Subs: Boffin (g), Carew, Lansbury.
Coventry (4-4-2): Murphy; Keogh, Cranie, Wood, Hussey; Thomas, Deegan, Baker, Bell (Bigirimana 67); McSheffrey, Jutkiewicz (Jeffers 69).
Subs: Dunn (g), McPake, Willis.
Referee: S Hooper (Wiltshire).
Exclusive - Nolan: 'I'm only going to get better'
Kevin Nolan has backed himself to hit form for West Ham and lead them back into the Premier League.
The Hammers’ captain scored the winning goal as they edged out Coventry to move joint-top alongside Southampton.
And following a turbulent time since moving to Upton Park in June, Nolan has told talkSPORT he can only get better.
“To be quite honest it’s difficult when you come to new surroundings, do new things and get to know new people,” he said.
“I’m quite happy with everything that has gone on but I know that I’m only going to get better. Hopefully that will come in the next four or five months and we’ll go on to the Premier League next year.”
Nolan also stressed the importance of West Ham putting a run together and becoming a firm fixture in the automatic promotion spots in the coming months.
“I’m only going to get better. Hopefully that will come in the next four or five months and we’ll go on to the Premier League next year.”Kevin Nolan
Before three points at Coventry thrust them firmly back into the promotion reckoning Sam Allardyce’s side had been on a disastrous run of form which saw them win just once in their previous five game.
But Nolan is confident they have the tools to go on a winning run now, saying: “I’m not getting too far ahead of myself really, I’m glad to pop up with goals but the main thing is that the team wins and we go on to a bit of a run now that is the main thing that was said after the game.
“This is a league which you can never ever judge and say ‘you’ve got to win your home games’. We’ve got to take each game as it comes and it is about going on a run now.
“That’s what we want to do, we want to go on a big run and we have got the tools to do it.”
Manchester City look set to miss out on the signing of midfielder Daniele De Rossi, as the 28-year-old is set to agree a five-year contract extension at Roma.
Sunderland midfielder Kieran Richardson has emerged as a shock target for Arsenal, with the 27-year-old believed to be keen on a move to the capital.
Aston Villa are interested in making a move for Steven Pienaar, who has struggled to get games for Spurs this season. They will face competition for the midfielder's signature from Everton and Sunderland.
Liverpool are the latest club to be linked with FC Cologne striker Lukas Podolski. The German international has scored 14 goals in 16 Bundesliga appearances and has also been linked with Arsenal.
Juventus are chasing the signature of Chelsea defender Alex, who is thought to prefer a return to Santos, after being told he can leave Stamford Bridge.
Or Alex is keen on a move to Queens Park Rangers and will hold talks with the club on Tuesday.
Juventus are now leading the race to sign Liverpool target Gaston Ramirez. The Italian giants are said to have already made a bid for the the attacking midfielder, who currently plays for Bologna.
Wolves manager Mick McCarthy has opened the bidding for Bristol City striker Nicky Maynard with a £1m offer but it will not be enough to secure his signature.
Former England manager Steve McClaren could be set for a return to FC Twente, the team he led to the Dutch title in 2010.
Spurs attacker Rafael van der Vaart has dismissed any speculation about his future, saying that "nobody wants to leave Spurs now".
Federico Macheda agreed to join QPR on loan on the advice of his Manchester United team-mate Rio Ferdinand, whose brother Anton plays for the club.
Thierry Henry may not have formally completed his loan move to Arsenal but a photograph of him in his kit somehow appeared on the club's official website.
babe of the day
http://nauarxida1.pblogs.gr/files/f/389 ... ebb_11.jpg
big sam's win bonus babe
http://gallery.virtuagirlhd.com/a0110/f ... 010097.jpg
Most of us can't understand how the two boards are speaking, after the OS fiasco and THFC's 'acquisition' of certain records, but I tend to agree. Correct me if I'm wrong, but he's got technique in both boots and can help out in midfield if required?
Corluka will be a good asset, what would that mean for Fabuert though. I love his energy but would not want to see him in front of Noble or Collinson.
Corluka would be a good signing - O'Brien just isn't a specialist right back - it would allow Faubert to compete with O'Neil on the right. It seems like Demel will never play for us...
Not so good in midfield but has filled in fairly successfully at CH on occasion.
With regards to the dealing between the clubs after all the vitriol of recent months (& longer), the old saying always holds true
Money talks, bull**** walks.
SUN STAR MAN KEVIN NOLAN (West Ham). Easily the Championship's best midfielder
Sorry but are they seeing something that I am not, gets a few important goals decent Captain but not a lot else. We are poor in some games because he is in the team and Big Sam is fitting a team around him.
Cheers CH, as always.
Corluka is a decent player but I see no reason whatsoever why we should be involved in any dealings with the Filth, call me old fashioned but f*ck em.
That has been my main issue with his selection - I don't think what he brings is enough to build a team around.
I watched Nolan really closely yesterday - I'm one of his bigger critics on the board, and thought that yesterday he did bring something to the side : Application .He pressed Coventry from the front , and generally worked hard .He didn't , and doesn't however do much with the ball .My take is what he does, he does well, it's just he doesn't do enough for me overall , and I suspect it's why Pardew sold him .
I agree though with your observation concerning the Jouno .Lazy stuff indeed .
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