Emphatic victory sets up Pardew for busy week

West Ham United 5 Plymouth Argyle 0
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The Independent Online

No rest for the average as both these teams are back in action tomorrow night for more vital Championship action. West Ham, who barely had to move out of first gear to record their biggest win of the season and go back into the final play-off place, can do Plymouth a favour by winning at third from bottom Gillingham. Plymouth, now just one spot and four points above the relegation zone, will be trying recover at home to Sheffield United, who were in FA Cup action at Arsenal having knocked out West Ham last weekend.

No rest for the average as both these teams are back in action tomorrow night for more vital Championship action. West Ham, who barely had to move out of first gear to record their biggest win of the season and go back into the final play-off place, can do Plymouth a favour by winning at third from bottom Gillingham. Plymouth, now just one spot and four points above the relegation zone, will be trying recover at home to Sheffield United, who were in FA Cup action at Arsenal having knocked out West Ham last weekend.

So, the pressure is on both clubs and their managers. West Ham's Alan Pardew was tipped for the sack had his side not won so emphatically and is hoping the increasingly influential Sergei Rebrov can recover from the calf injury that forced him off after he had already played a role in West Ham's opening two goals.

Rebrov is Pardew's main concern, while he is more confident about the ability of key midfielders Mark Noble and Hayden Mullins to shake off the knocks that forced their premature withdrawal. Steve Lomas marked this game with his first appearance of the year following injury and Pardew has not ruled out a raid on the transfer market with funds still tipped to be raised with the possible sale of the striker Bobby Zamora.

"We've got a busy week ahead of us with the Gillingham game and then Leeds on Saturday," Pardew said. "Hopefully, we'll have a productive week and then I'll be in a position to bring in one or two players. We'll probably wait until after the Leeds game and then look to bring somebody in on loan. That will then be the squad which will take us into the final push for promotion."

At least West Ham can go into tomorrow's action with confidence. Marlon Harewood scored a 10th-minute penalty after a senseless handball from Bjarni Gudjonsson, a second was credited as an own goal to keeper Luke McCormick following Rebrov's 23rd-minute corner, although Argyle striker Nick Chadwick appeared to get the final touch, and the unmarked Malky Mackay was gifted the third before half-time. Teddy Sheringham scored two in the second half, including a twice-taken penalty after Mathias Doumbe was sent off for tripping Nigel Reo-Coker.

Bobby Williamson's team have not won in nine and the Scottish coach conceded they must get a result against Sheffield United. "I wish we were playing immediately because it hurts me, the players and the fans," he said. "That was our worst performance of the season. Maybe Sheffield United will feel we are a soft touch and they are coming down to go away with three points, but I am looking for a reaction from our guys and I'm sure I'll get it." It is unlikely the 2,500 Plymouth fans at this game will be so confident.

Goals: Harewood (10 pen) 1-0; McCormick (23 og) 2-0; Mackay (40) 3-0; Sheringham (76) 4-0; Sheringham (84 pen) 5-0.

West Ham United (4-4-2): Bywater; Repka, Ferdinand, Mackay, Powell; Rebrov (Reo-Coker, 31), Mullins (Lomas, 45), Fletcher, Noble (Zamora 48); Sheringham, Harewood. Substitutes not used: Walker (gk), Etherington.

Plymouth Argyle (4-4-2): McCormick; Worrell, Doumbe, Coughlan, Aljofree; Adams, Lasley (Norris, 45), Gudjonsson (Capaldi, 45), Buzsaky; Chadwick, Blackstock. Substitutes not used: Evans, Taylor, Gilbert.

Booked: West Ham: Repka. Plymouth: Capaldi, Chadwick.

Sent Off: Plymouth: Doumbe.

Referee: K Friend (Leicestershire).

Attendance: 25,490.

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