Forward options please Grant

BY foxsports • February 13, 2011

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".


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