Grant will not block Downes if call comes from St James'

Avram Grant, the West Ham United manager, has insisted he would not stand in the way of Wally Downes departing for Newcastle United, despite the defensive coach being credited with a key role in recent positive results.

Downes has a close relationship with Alan Pardew and worked with the newly appointed Newcastle manager at Southampton before their dismissals in August.

Since Downes' arrival at Upton Park, the Premier League's bottom club have recorded victories over Wigan and Manchester United. The 49-year-old is understood to be happy with his current post, although Pardew is yet to select his backroom staff at St James' Park.

"I've never stopped anyone in my life – not a player, not anyone," Grant said. "I like Wally Downes and have a very good relationship in a short time but I cannot answer for him.It is a contract between him and the club but I must say we are happy with him and he is happy from us. As far as I know he has signed but the contract is not important."

Grant, ahead of today's game against Manchester City, spoke of his confidence that Scott Parker, the midfielder, will stay at the club when the January transfer window opens.

"I don't think they [the owners] will do it," he said. "They didn't sell Scott Parker at the beginning of the season. Scott Parker is important for us and I will say it again: I think it is also good for him that he stays."

Grant sees Parker as part of the future, adding: "We want to create here – this is the reason I came for long-term. First year to stay here in the league, then bring in young players, bring players that can develop with the team, like Victor Obinna. We want to develop players."

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