Football: Uefa Cup first round: Hammers reinforcedin defence

WEST HAM UNITED
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The Independent Online
HARRY REDKNAPP insists that West Ham will not sit back on their three-goal lead tonight in Osijek despite the return of their defensive pair Rio Ferdinand and Neil Ruddock to his squad.

The Croatians were hammered 3-0 at Upton Park two weeks ago and, even though he has the sudden luxury of defensive cover, Redknapp will send his players out with orders to snatch a vital away goal which should guarantee them a place in the Uefa Cup second round.

The West Ham manager said: "We'll go out and give it a go like we have in the other matches. If we score it makes it very difficult for them. I certainly wouldn't want to sit back and invite pressure for 90 minutes. They have got to attack. They'll come out and look to take the game to us in the first 15 minutes but that might give us space to exploit."

Ferdinand will start in Croatia after missing four games with an ankle injury. "Rio will start and hopefully we'll get 50 or 60 minutes out of him," Redknapp said.

Ruddock has not played since pulling a hamstring in the first leg of the Intertoto semi-final against Heerenveen in July. There was more good news for West Ham's defence when tests indicated that the Chilean, Javier Margas, would not need surgery on a knee problem. Ian Pearce, Stuart Pearce and Scott Minto are still on the treatment table, however.

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