Forward options please Grant

The Hammers signed strikers Robbie Keane on loan from Tottenham and

Demba Ba on a permanent deal from German side Hoffenheim last month

to join Victor Obinna, Frederic Piquionne and Carlton Cole in their

attack. It meant that despite the loss of Keane (calf) and Obinna

(ankle) to injury ahead of Saturday’s Premier League clash with

West Brom at The Hawthorns, Grant could still pair Cole and Ba up

front for the game and keep Piquionne in reserve on the bench. And

after a forgettable first half in which the Londoners found

themselves three goals behind, it was that trio of forwards which

ultimately salvaged a point for West Ham from a thrilling

encounter. Ba – on his first start for the Hammers – pulled one

back in the 50th minute before substitute Piquionne teed up Cole

for the second eight minutes later. Senegal international Ba then

made it 3-3 with seven minutes of normal time remaining as West

Ham, who are two points behind 17th-placed Albion, moved off the

bottom of the table up to 19th. “This is one of the reasons why we

wanted to bring in players in the transfer window,” Grant said. “We

didn’t have a good bench, especially in terms of forwards. “Now we

can have players like Piquionne on the bench, or even Cole or Ba,

and in these situations it is good to have them there – especially

after we lost Keane, who has been very good in the two games he has

played, and Obinna, who has been fantastic.” The contest, which

could not have been more different during an opening 45 minutes in

which strikes from Graham Dorrans and Jerome Thomas and a Winston

Reid own-goal had put West Brom firmly in the driving seat, was

characterised by poor defending from both sides. Grant was keen to

point to the injury problems he is also having to contend with at

the back. “Manuel Da Costa was playing because he needed to,” Grant

said. “The plan was that he would start from next week, but last

week (against Birmingham) he was on the bench and Matthew Upson got

injured. “James Tomkins got injured in the warm-up before that game

and Danny Gabbidon got injured against Blackpool. “We lost three

top centre-halves in a few days and then we needed to play. It was

not easy for him to play after such a long time when he was not

100% ready.” Asked about the way things turned around after the

break, Grant said he had not lost his temper at half-time, although

it seems the most stirring words in the dressing room may have come

from captain Scott Parker. Cole – who received a fat lip for his

troubles when heading in his goal – revealed his team-mate Parker

delivered an “inspirational” speech and that “if you were in there

you would have had a tear in your eye”.