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Thursday, January 13, 2011
Parker: Players behind Grant

West Ham star Scott Parker insists all the players are behind under-pressure boss Avram Grant, who strengthened his defensive options with the loan signature of Manchester City full-back Wayne Bridge on Wednesday.

• Bridge joins West Ham
• Grant avoids Hammers sack

Grant appeared to be handed a reprieve on Wednesday after a board meeting at Upton Park ended with him still in place.

Speculation has been rife that Grant is on the brink of the sack but he appears to have bought himself time to convince his employers he is the man to keep the club in the Premier League, and now Bridge has been added into the mix until the end of the season.

The future looked bleak for Grant following last week's 5-0 thrashing at Newcastle - which left the Hammers rooted to the foot of the table - but an FA Cup win over Barnsley and Tuesday night's spirited Carling Cup victory over Birmingham did his cause no harm.

And he retains the full support of his players, according to star midfielder Parker, who said: "We're definitely playing for our manager. If you believed everything that you hear about West Ham in the press then you'd be rather a stressed man.''

Grant laughed off the latest rumours about his position on Tuesday night and Parker added: "He seems relaxed - that's his demeanour. He seems relaxed and chilled out, which I think echoes to the players as well. Spirit is high. I think as much as the gaffer is fighting, we're all fighting as well. We're all in the same corner, we're all trying to do our best for ourselves, the manager and the club. The manager has tons and tons of experience, so he's doing a good job.''

Indeed, barring the result at St James' Park, Grant has overseen something of a revival at Upton Park in recent weeks, with that their only defeat in seven games in all competitions. They have also won four of the remaining six to ensure they are still within touching distance of climbing out of the drop zone. But Grant is nevertheless on very thin ice and failure to take anything out of the next two tough games against Arsenal and Everton could see him jettisoned before the second leg of the League Cup semi-final against Birmingham.

Parker said: "We are feeling positive. We've been on a run of good form if you take the Newcastle result out of it. Other than that, we have picked up some good results. We'll go into the Arsenal game confident - it's a London derby and hopefully we can pick up some more points.''

Parker also had a part to play in Bridge's decision to return to London, with the former England defender telling West Ham's website: "I know a few of the players from England and I know the physio. I spoke to Scotty Parker and a few people and they told me what a great club it is. That definitely helped me make the decision to come here. There is a lot of quality here and I know we can move up the table.''




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