Stoke assistant rues injury setbacks

BY foxsports • September 19, 2010

Having fallen behind to Scott Parker's first-half opener, Stoke started the second period brightly and almost immediately equalised as Jones got his head to Pennant's cross. Jones saw a shot tipped onto the post by Robert Green soon after as Stoke went in search of a winner, but the striker was then removed from the action. Walters and Pennant were also substituted and the match finished level, with Kemp revealing afterwards that all three changes had been forced. "We started very slowly and we are disappointed with the way we played in the first half," said Potters assistant Kemp, who has been handling media duties since the death of Tony Pulis' mother last week. "I thought after half-time and getting the early goal, we started to play much better and had some opportunities that hit the woodwork, but the injuries didn't help us. "Every time we seemed to be getting a head of steam up, we seemed to pick up an injury to an important forward player. "I think that affected us, so on reflection it could be two points lost, but maybe it was one gained. "It is a groin with Kenwyne, a hamstring possibly with Jermaine and an ankle with Jon Walters. "We don't know how serious they are - we will have to just wait and see." West Ham were without their manager for the entire day, with Avram Grant observing Yom Kippur. In his absence, Grant's senior coaching staff of Zeljko Petrovic, Paul Groves and Kevin Keen oversaw the Hammers as they secured their first point of the season. Asked what his feelings were about the performance, Groves said: "It is tinged with a little bit of disappointment, because I felt after the first half we could have perhaps gone in 2-0 up and then they scored early on in the second half. "But we also realise this is a difficult place to come to and get points against a strong, powerful side." Another absentee for West Ham was Kieron Dyer, whose representatives have dismissed allegations that he had a heated exchange with Grant after being told that he would not be taking part in today's match. Groves denied there was any problem between Dyer and Grant, but when asked if the midfielder had turned down a place on the bench, he said: "That I wouldn't necessarily know. "I know he is available, but he is being managed in terms of his injuries and availability, making sure that he is in good condition when it comes to playing football matches. "Most players want to play football so if they are left out, they are disappointed. "But Kieron is a fantastic professional, he gets on and does his job and he is available for the next game." Groves, who thought it unlikely that Grant would have watched the game on television, felt it would have been harsh for the referee to award the visitors a penalty in the first half when Ryan Shawcross appeared to deflect Victor Obinna's strike with his arm. "I've seen the incident and I think it would be very harsh if it was given," Groves said. "Victor has caught hold of it, it is goalward-bound and he probably has taken the sting out of it, but I think he turned away."


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