Saturday, 2 February 2008

Hairdos And Hoodoos

Scott Parker will miss the rest of West Ham United's season with a knee injury according to a report in the Mail. The former Newcastle midfielder, who has made just 10 appearances since joining in a £7million deal last summer, was hurt in a tackle with Cristiano Ronaldo during the Hammers' 2-1 victory over Manchester United in December. He had only just returned from a lengthy lay off. At the time Alan Curbishley said: "It's a different injury. It's the same knee, but it's a different injury, he's hurt his knee cap this time. He's a resilient boy, he's been through it a little bit, and he'll come out stronger because of it. If it was similar injury, or the same injury, then I think we'd all be a bit disappointed, but it's a new injury, so we've just got to get on with it." It should be mentioned that the story is at odds with the party line from yesterday when it was stated on the official site that the player was a month away from a first team return. The Mirror claims that while Curbishley is still insisting that the midfielder will return, privately West Ham are coming to terms with the fact that Parker is extremely unlikely to play before the end of the current campaign.

If that news was not bad enough for
Alan Curbishley, the same article claims there is a serious rift in the relationship between the manager and frustrated striker Dean Ashton. The forward, who was on the substitutes' bench for the 1-0 victory over Liverpool on Wednesday, is claimed to believe his club boss is damaging his England career. Ashton has been omitted from Fabio Capello's squad for Wednesday's friendly against Switzerland because he has not played enough games and the former Norwich striker is reportedly seething about his lack of first-team action. The story is also in the Mirror where it is claimed Capello sent his men to watch Ashton on several occasions but still decided to go with other options. An FA insider, as quoted in the Sun, insists the England boss does rate the striker but feels he has not played enough games. There is, of course, very little substance to support these claims. Indeed, it would have been a shock to most West Ham fans had Ashton received a call-up. His lack of sharpness and mobility since his return from injury means he has hardly warranted a place for club let alone country.

A similarly disgruntled figure is mercurial winger Luis Boa Morte.
A section of the Upton Park crowd have turned on the Portugal international in recent weeks, and he was even booed in midweek despite the Hammers recording a memorable 1-0 win over Liverpool. "The supporters were booing, but I don't know why," Boa Morte told Sky Sports News. "I agree if they are not happy because I've not scored enough goals. Okay fair enough. If they feel I did not work hard enough, we're probably not watching the same game. I don't want them to boo me for the hard work because every single team I've had in England I've always worked hard. Things have not been going my way. I just have to dig in and keep working hard because I know the goals will come. I'm not going to throw in the towel. I'm going to keep working hard and to go and see a witch to see if she can help with the scoring."

Finally, Alan Curbishley has expressed dismay at Robert Green's omission from the England squad. Speaking ahead of the game against Wigan Athletic, he joked that perhaps the keeper's barnet was the problem. "I think Greeny perhaps is not spectacular enough - perhaps he's got to dye his hair to make himself seem more spectacular," smiled Curbishley. "Since I've been at the club he's been the same throughout. There's been lots of talk that he should be included but he has been consistent whenever I've spoken to him. All he will do is play as well as he can and, if the situation changes, it changes. I don't think he will see it any other way. His performances haven't gone unnoticed - we know that - and he just has to keep going. I don't think being left out of the squad is going to change his mentality. He'll just take it on the chin and get on with it. There is no part of his game he needs to work on, he's just been very, very consistent for us."

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