Avram Grant bemoans Scott Parker absence in West Ham relegation battle

West Ham manager Avram Grant admits his side are feeling the absence of Scott Parker in the battle to retain their Barclays Premier League status.

The Hammers remain at the foot of the table and three points from safety following Saturday's 1-1 draw with Blackburn, and have just two games left to escape the drop.

Parker sat out the clash with the Achilles injury which has troubled him in recent weeks, and Grant is desperate to have the influential midfielder back in the line-up as soon as possible.

"Every week we say 'next week' with Scott," Grant said.

"No one more than me wants him to play, but if he cannot, he cannot.

"I didn't think it was such a bad injury, but we've missed him since Manchester United.

"We want him to play. There is no one more than me who wants him to play. He's more than a player for me."

Blackburn are not out of danger either after Jason Roberts' first half goal was cancelled out by Thomas Hitzlsperger 12 minutes from time, but boss Steve Kean is optimistic his side will still be playing top flight football next season.

"We've had five positive results in the last seven matches, so we're one of the form teams in the bottom half," he said.

"That's a positive we'll be stressing to the lads. I don't know what we'll need, but we'll try and keep picking up points."

Wigan manager Roberto Martinez also remains upbeat about his team's survival chances, even though a 1-1 draw at Aston Villa was not enough to lift the Latics out of the bottom three.

Blackpool's own 1-1 stalemate with Tottenham kept Ian Holloway's men out of the relegation zone on goal difference, but Martinez had few complaints about his team's display.

He said: "I am happy with our performance (against Villa). We are in a position where we are fighting for our lives," he said.

"It was a good point and I'm pleased with the test we came through."

Steve Bruce has set his sights on establishing Sunderland as a top 10 club after a 2-1 victory at Bolton lifted them clear of the relegation battle.

It was only the Black Cats' second win in 12 league games and came courtesy of goals from Bolo Zenden and Sulley Muntari's effort which went in off defender Zat Knight.

Sunderland sit eight points above the bottom three and Bruce said: "It is good to be safe now. That was the one thing we had to address when I arrived. The year I came here we stayed up on goal difference.

"We had to stop being a yo-yo club. We have had four years in the Premier League now and the next step is the most difficult one. That is trying to take the club forward and getting into the top 10."

In Saturday's other matches, second half headers from Sylvain Distin and Leon Osman saw Everton to a 2-1 victory over Manchester City while Newcastle beat Birmingham by the same scoreline.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
musicBand's first new record for 20 years has some tough acts to follow
Shoppers in Covent Garden, London, celebrate after they were the first to buy the iPhone 6, released yesterday
Liam Payne has attacked the media for reporting his tweet of support to Willie Robertson and the subsequent backlash from fans
peopleBut One Direction star insists he is not homophobic
Life and Style
healthFor Pure-O OCD sufferers this is a reality they live in
Arts and Entertainment
A bit rich: Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey
tvSeries 5 opening episode attracts lowest ratings since drama began
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments