Grant has fresh worries as transfer deadline nears
Saturday 22 January 2011
At times Avram Grant must wonder why he bothers.
Constantly under attack from all quarters, seemingly undermined from within the club, hindered by constant injuries to crucial first-team players, the much-maligned West Ham manager has, notwithstanding the Carling Cup semi-finals, endured a torrid seven-month tenure with the east London club.
Yesterday, almost a week after it seemed he would be replaced by Martin O'Neill, the Israeli expressed his frustration that "time was running out" to recruit new players to ensure the club's Premier League safety.
With Scott Parker expected to return after suffering an ankle injury, West Ham play Everton this afternoon knowing that a first victory at Goodison Park since December 2005 could lift them out of the relegation zone – a scenario as rare as good news stories from Upton Park this season. Four days later they travel to St Andrew's, hoping to consolidate their 2-1 first-leg advantage over Birmingham City and reach the Carling Cup final.
Yet, until O'Neill rejected West Ham's offer, speculation about Grant's future persisted. The fact that Wayne Bridge, recently signed on loan from Manchester City, is the only recruit to an injury-depleted squad emphasises the challenge the 55-year-old faces.
However, Grant, who looks set to remain for the rest of the season, has reminded co-owners David Gold and David Sullivan he requires urgent help before the transfer window closes.
He said: "Am I concerned that time is running out to recruit players? To be fair, yes I am. The time is running out. We wanted to do deals beforehand but we faced some difficulties. We have 10 days or so and we want to use these 10 days to make the team stronger."
Grant has been praised for the dignified way he has conducted himself and the general warmth of the crowd has been the most touching part of his troubled reign. "The supporters understand what we want, understand the difficulties," he said.
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