Pardew's praise for Bent

GLUM Hammers boss Alan Pardew despaired at throwing away two points but praised Ipswich, and in particular striker Darren Bent, who he is convinced will be playing top flight football very soon, writes Derek Davis.

GLUM Hammers boss Alan Pardew despaired at throwing away two points but praised Ipswich, and in particular striker Darren Bent, who he is convinced will be playing top flight football very soon, writes Derek Davis.

Bent hit the crossbar and scorned a couple of decent chances as the Blues fought back to deprive West Ham of all three points. The Town striker has been winning new admirers for his form this season with Everton and Birmingham the latest two clubs reported to be keen on signing him in the January window.

Pardew was wary of the Blues hitman and singled him out beforehand for special attention. "Darren's record at England Under-21 level shows he is a constant threat. I felt we dealt with him very well and he was not involved too much.

"But he had one or two flashes and you could see from that, that he is going to have a career in the Premiership and possibly beyond that."


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The Hammers groundstaff put the sprinklers on after the teams had gone back in from the warm down, possibly to slow the pitch down and try to slow Bent's pace.

Certainly, Ian Westlake went over on the slick surface early on and West Ham settled into the game a lot quicker and dominated the first half, with Malky Mackay giving them a deserved lead.

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But Pardew was left regretting missed chances, and when Pablo Counago equalised the momentum went for the Irons.

Pardew said: "We had some great chances to get the second, and if we had it might have been a very different second half.

"I was a bit disappointed that we didn't control the game as well as we would have liked in the second half, but really Ipswich only had a 20-minute period in the whole game. But they got the goal, which really knocked us back."

Pardew is convinced the Hammers are Premiership material, even more so now that the club's financial situation has settled.

He said: "We are so much stronger now than we were after all the upheaval. The one difference now is during the next window I'm not under any pressure to release anyone and if anyone goes it will be my choice or the player's choice to leave."

Pardew has funds to strengthen if needed but is not sure that he has to.

He added: "The mindset of the squad now is they will be here for the next 12 months.

"We have a small amount of money so we could bring in one more player but then we were terrific in the first half and I could not have asked more from them in terms of effort and commitment."

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