David Gold confirmed today that Winston Reid and Mark Noble have both been passed fit for the visit of Man Utd on Wednesday night. James Tomkins is unfortunately still injured, so the expected changes to the team will be Reid in for Tomkins and Noble in for O’Neil, with Pogatetz back on the bench.
Sam Allardyce spoke to the press today ahead of Wednesday night’s home match with Manchester United, and in particular talked about the current defensive headache he has been given after James Tomkins joined the list of injured defenders on the treatment table.
With Winston Reid and George McCartney also still out, Big Sam declared that barring any miraculous revoveries, Emanuel Pogatetz would again step into the breach, as he did on Sunday when Tomkins came off injured.
Although I think Pogatetz is nowhere near as bad as some would make out, I still find it interesting that Big Sam has again preferred experience over youth in his team selections. I refer, of course, to Dan Potts and Jordan Spence, both of whom have acquitted themselves well whenever they have been called upon. Whether it is because they will be up against RVP et al on Wednesday (and a possible confidence-shattering drubbing), or because of his apparent “whatever you do, don’t lose” philosophy, but it seems to me that he has a reluctance to give youth a chance. Despite his public endorsement of the West Ham academy, the young players don’t seem to be coming through to the first team like they used to. Is it because they are not good enough? Or is it a sign that Allardyce’s no risk strategy is just not giving them the experience and opportunities they need?