Football: Wright and Ferdinand fit for Hammers trip

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The Independent Online
WEST HAM United's two England stars are expected to shake off strains picked up in the 2-0 defeat of the Czech Republic to be fit to face Derby County at Pride Park this afternoon. Ian Wright (calf) and Rio Ferdinand (back) both missed training on Friday but are in the squad.

Harry Redknapp, the Hammers' manager, thinks that others in his squad will soon come into the England reckoning. "Frank Lampard is captain of the under-21s and Trevor Sinclair could still end up an England player because he is only 25 and is an exceptional player."

Neil Ruddock, suspended for last weekend's win over Leicester City, and Andy Impey (groin) return to replace Julian Dicks and left wing-back Marc Keller respectively.

But all eyes will be on Wright, the striker whose energetic comeback to international football belied his 35 years. "It just shows that maybe we give too many players up at too early an age," Jim Smith, the Rams' manager, said. "He's very quick and he has to be full of confidence at the moment.

"I've seen the video from the Newcastle-West Ham game. He got two goals but he was the difference between the teams throughout the game."

Facing Wright, Mart Poom will replace Russell Hoult, concussed last week, in goal while the central defender, Igor Stimac, returns from suspension. Stefan Schnoor is doubtful but the midfielder Lee Carsley has recovered from a knee injury.

Speaking of Newcastle, Ruud Gullit, the Magpies manager, wants money to bring in new players and he wants it now. Having sold Steve Watson to Aston Villa and Stephane Guivarc'h to Rangers for a total of pounds 8m, he's been given pounds 7m to spend, as opposed to the pounds 60m spent by Kevin Keegan and pounds 38m by Kenny Dalglish. But Gullit has been told to sell again if he wants more cash to strengthen a side who play at Everton on Monday night.

In the Nationwide First Division, a win over Birmingham City at Molineux this afternoon will improve the chances of Colin Lee, unbeaten after three matches as caretaker manager of Wolves, getting the job proper. "Whatever happens will happen," Lee philosophised. "I am working as hard as I can to get results for the club and that is all that I want to do."