Old boys return to haunt injury prone Hammers

Julian Harris
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WEST HAM manager Sam Allardyce urged his team to dig deep for the Christmas period, after losing yet another key player to injury during yesterday’s defeat to Liverpool.

Glen Johnson and Joe Cole returned to haunt their former club with two superb strikes, the latter coming after Mohamed Diame was stretchered off in the 72nd minute.

An own goal from James Collins gave the Reds victory despite West Ham scoring twice in the first half through a Mark Noble spot kick and a Steven Gerrard own goal.

“It’s disappointing to lose but it’s even more disappointing when your most creative player leaves the field with what looks like a serious injury – on top of all the other injuries we’ve got at the moment,” Allardyce said, listing Andy Carroll, Yossi Benayoun, Jack Collison, Alou Diarra and Ricardo Vaz Te as other key men still unavailable for selection.

“We’re going to have to be a bit more dogged and resilient now with the players we’ve got available,” he added, estimating that the impressive Diame could be out for up to 12 weeks with an apparent hamstring tear.

West Ham showed plenty of fight to come back from being a goal down, after a 20-yard belter from Johnson early on. Yet despite leading 2-1 at the break, the Hammers succumbed to two goals in four second half minutes to lose all three points.