West Ham have drawn Cardiff City at home in the 3rd Round of the Capital One Cup. It is a repeat of the opening day fixture, which the Hammers comfortably won 2-0. The tie will take place in the week commencing 23 September 2013 (exact date to be confirmed). Luck in the draw is necessary to help facilitate a good cup run and, it has to be admitted, that the draw could have been far worse. Having said that, the Blue Birds are not a push over (as Man City can testify!) and we will need to approach the match in the right manner to ensure further progress in the competition.
Elsewhere, there is a report on kumb that the proposed loan deal for Honduran striker, Roger Rojas has broken down. It is based on a tweet from the account attributed to Jack Sullivan, which states that the striker failed a fitness test and this has scuppered the deal. The kumb article claims that they have had confirmation of this from a ‘highly placed’ club source. So, apparently another potential striker deal ‘bites the dust.’ On the striker front, there are reports circulating that both Cardiff City and Notts Forest are to bid for Vaz Te before the window closes. At the time of writing there has been no confirmation of any such bids being received.
It was interesting that there were no West Ham Utd representatives in the recently announced full and U-21 England squads. At full England level, one would have thought the good early season form of Matt Jarvis, Joe Cole and Mark Noble might have been recognized. Its a fair bet that Andy Carroll would have been included but for his current injury absence. And Carroll may be the future key to England selection for his West Ham team mates, demonstrating how well they combine with the big centre forward. That is particularly true of Jarvis, Downing and Cole. At U-21 level, it is a similar story, with the claims of Morrison and Potts being overlooked. One could also ask why they have not recognised the potential of Elliott Lee, one of the top English striking prospects? At the end of the day, all the club’s English players can do is continue to play to the best of their ability in a West Ham shirt and give the Hodgson regime no option but to select them!
Finally, in some quarters questions have been asked about James Tomkin’s future at the club. The Collins-Reid central defensive partnership has been outstanding so far this season. That has left Tomkins on the substitutes bench in the PL so far this season. My view is that this is a squad game and it is crucial that we have strength in depth and competition in all positions. Talk of selling him is a nonsense, all that will do is weaken the squad and decrease competition for places. Tomkins must be ultra-professional, keep his focus and continue to work on his game. He played in the cup on Tuesday evening and his PL opportunity will come sooner, rather than later. When it does, Tomkins has to respond and make it difficult for Sam Allardyce to drop him again. Its all about competition and raising individual levels of performance. With Reid, Tomkins, Collins and Chambers we have real quality and strength in depth. Now they need to compete and strive for a starting spot!
In working on his game, Tomkins may wish to study Collins’ play in a number of key aspects. Tomkins is unquestionably the better technical player, but Collins does the straightforward defensive duties better. He also gives 100% on the pitch and is unafraid to put his body on the line to stop the opposition scoring. If Tomkins learns these lessons and adjusts his game accordingly then, with his greater natural ability, there is little doubt that he has a big future at the club.