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Football: THE ROCKY ROED; THE Monday MATCH West Ham v Soton Win or bust as boss Glenn's job hangs.

Byline: DARREN LEWIS

GLENN ROEDER is praying fit-again Freddie Kanoute can end West Ham's home hoodoo and kick-start their survival bid against Southampton tonight.

Hammers have not tasted victory in front of their own fans in eight league games so far this season and the noose around Roeder's neck will tighten considerably should they fail to beat the South Coast side.

But the Upton Park chief is pinning his hopes on Kanoute's return to act as a foil for Jermain Defoe and Paolo Di Canio up front.

He said: "We have been missing Freddie's aerial ability, so if he is fit he plays. Jermain and Paolo have been forced to play as the main striker so far this season but that is not a strong point for either of them.

"Freddie gives us that extra dimension and playing on Monday suits us because it gives him an extra couple of days. You have to remember he has been out for nine weeks, which is the equivalent of the summer holiday.

"He has had just 62 minutes in a reserve game last week - but he did score."

The tension surrounding this fixture is similar to last season when Roeder and then-Saints boss Stuart Gray were under both pressure. Roeder came out on top that day, forcing Gray to pick up his P45.

The boot is on the other foot this season, however, with big names such as George Graham and David O'Leary being linked with the chance to manage rising stars like Defoe, Joe Cole and Michael Carrick.

But Roeder added: "That is outside influences. I can do nothing about that so I don't worry about it. This is simply our next game, our next opportunity - and that is how I by a Fred treat it. Life is uncomfortable at the moment. I am very concerned with the position we are in but I can handle it is as far as the pressure is concerned.

"That really isn't a problem for me.

"I am not sure people always believe me but I can assure you it is true."

Roeder also admitted he does not expect any sympathy from Strachan, despite the fact that the Scot has been in a relegation battle before, taking Coventry down from the Premiership.

Roeder added: "This is a results- orientated business. If you do not get the results you do not survive. It's as simple as that.

"Gordon has his problems and his concern is for his own team. I wouldn't look to get any support from him.

"We all know what we are going in for when we take these positions. But I am still working and the players are still responding, so I have no complaints.

"No-one is sitting on his hands and no-one has his fingers in his ears. Everybody is listening because everybody wants to get out of this situation."

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ALL THE STATS

Last six at Upton Park

Oct 20 01 West Ham 2 Southampton 0

May 5 01 West Ham 3 Southampton 0

Mar 8 00 West Ham 2 Southampton 0

Sep 29 98 West Ham 1 Southampton 0

Apr 25 98 West Ham 2 Southampton 4

Aug 24 96 West Ham 2 Southampton 1

CAPTION(S):

COOL CUSTOMER: Glenn Roeder is keeping focused; KANOUTE: Ready to return against the Saints
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Dec 2, 2002
Words:557
Previous Article:Football: PUNCH LANDS WRIGHT IN IT.
Next Article:SPORT LETTER: TOUGH JUSTICE FOR SHEARER.


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