West Ham wary of threat posed by Everton forward Nikica Jelavic

Nikica Jelavic could have joined West Ham

Nikica Jelavic could have joined West Ham when he moved to England and assistant manager Neil McDonald hopes missing out on the striker does not come back to haunt the Hammers when they face Everton tomorrow.

The Croatia international plumped for a move to Everton when he left Rangers at the end of January, completing a move believed to be worth around £5million.

West Ham were in the npower Championship at the time but manager Sam Allardyce still showed a firm interest in acquiring Jelavic, according to McDonald.

McDonald said: "There was a definite interest there and we did speak to him.

"Obviously he went to Everton and scored goals and proved he can play in the Premier League.

"When we saw him at Rangers we thought he could score goals in the Premier League and he's proved that. That's Everton's gain."

Allardyce ultimately led the Hammers back into the Barclays Premier League and since returning to the top flight the club have invested heavily in the likes of Matt Jarvis and the loan signing of Liverpool frontman Andy Carroll.

McDonald admits that missing out on a target such as Jelavic is hard to take, but the 47-year-old, who had a spell at Goodison Park as a player, believes the signing of Carroll makes up for it.

He said: "You are always disappointed when you don't get players who come into the Premier League and do well but we got Andy Carroll so there is a little bit of a pay-off there.

"We are pleased with Andy's contribution so far, even though he has got injured. If you don't get one (target) you try and get another.

"Of course it would (be good to have someone like Jelavic in the squad).

"Everton play a different system. Whoever you bring in has to try to fit in with the dynamics of the team whether they are big or small or indifferent.

"I think he scored goals for fun for Rangers and is an international. He is a goalscorer and that's what we are looking for."

A good start to the season has seen David Moyes guide Everton to sixth place in the table heading into the festive period and McDonald has praised the structure of the Merseyside club.

"I think that they are a model for any club," he said.

"They have showed that with a little bit of finance and a good recruitment policy it is possible to get into the top six and push on towards the top four.

"I would think David is very pleased with where they are right now and they have a good platform going into the second half of the season."

West Ham will welcome Jack Collison back to their squad for the first time since last season's play-off final success against Blackpool.

The Wales international has not played much reserve-team football but is likely to be named on the bench on Saturday due to the long injury list at Upton Park.

The lack of options due to a host of injury problems could see Allardyce look to bring in fresh faces when the transfer window opens in January but McDonald does not envisage a raft of signings.

"Everyone will try to strengthen their squad over January and you can always be greedy and say you want three or four," McDonald said.

"But in reality if we get one or two and we get the injured players back we'll have a much stronger squad. One or two would be great to help the boys out and give that competition for places in the second half of season to try to push on."

Carroll, Ricardo Vaz Te, Mohamed Diame and Alou Diarra all remain sidelined but there is an outside chance on-loan midfielder Yossi Benayoun could return on Saturday.

PA

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