Hammers pre-season hots up

Posted by Peter Thorne

Christopher Lee/Getty ImagesMark Noble and West Ham are off to a solid start in preseason, including a 2-1 win over Colchester.

West Ham's encouraging pre-season run of wins came to a shuddering halt in the club's first match of their mini-tour of Germany.

In a 4-1 loss to FSV Mainz, the Hammers were convincingly beaten. Although, after going in at halftime 2-0 down, the team had fought back well with a goal from Joe Cole and were looking good for an equaliser, before the referee awarded a penalty for a sliding tackle by James Tomkins that the Irons rear-guard insisted was a perfectly good clean take of the ball. A late goal from Sebastian Polter made the score-line look quite convincing, although it should be remembered that the Bundesliga season gets under way before the Premiership and the German side were a little more advanced in their pre-season preparations than the Hammers who looked, understandably, a little ragged before the end.

Nevertheless, this was a good opportunity for West Ham to increase their match fitness, and with games against Hamburg and Eintracht Braunschweig to come over the next week, Sam Allardyce will hope to tighten things up before the annual Bobby Moore Fund game, this year against Portuguese outfit Pacos de Ferreira on 10th August. The real thing kicks off the following week against Cardiff, of course.

Games against Cork City (6-2), Boreham Wood (3-0), Bournemouth (3-0) and Colchester (2-1) had produced some encouraging performances, although there is still a degree of concern that Andy Carroll looks to be some weeks away from a return, and is likely to miss all the competitive pre-season training.

After a brisk start in the transfer market, the Hammers have now seen several early summer targets move on to other clubs and even the paper rumours seem to have died. It's likely that the coaching staff will be happy with their options most everywhere on the pitch barring the forward line where, shorn of Carroll, alternatives seem very limited.

The board are still insisting the Hammers are actively working the market though and it seems highly unlikely that further recruits won't be found, if not in time for the Cardiff game, then certainly before the window closes.

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