Dyer double sends a timely reminder

HAMMERS midfielder Kieron Dyer put in a virtuoso display in front of manager Gianfranco Zola on Tuesday night as he staked a claim for a place in the first team on Saturday, writes DAVE EVANS. The 30-year-old England international grabbed two goals in a 6

HAMMERS midfielder Kieron Dyer put in a virtuoso display in front of manager Gianfranco Zola on Tuesday night as he staked a claim for a place in the first team on Saturday, writes DAVE EVANS.

The 30-year-old England international grabbed two goals in a 68-minute stint on the pitch during the 5-2 reserve team victory over a strong Stoke City outfit.

Dyer played behind the two strikers - Terry Dixon and Frank Nouble - and caused all sorts of problems for the Potters defence.

Second string boss Alex Dyer was certainly impressed: "We played Kieron in the hole," he said.


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"He found little gaps and he got us playing. It was his first game back after injury and he was outstanding.

"He scored two goals and he looked fitter than I've seen him for a long while."

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Dyer has played just four times for the Hammers this season, but when he is fit and in form he gives West Ham the pace and attacking flair they have been missing in the middle of the park.

Dixon and Nouble were also on target against Stoke City, as well as Danny Kearns, while Nouble also managed three assists on an impressive night.

Meanwhile, Herita Ilunga has recovered from the hamstring injury that has ruled him out for the last three matches and he will return at left back against Burnley, while Mark Noble is fit again after suffering a leg injury that stopped him travelling to Hull City.

Noble was dropped for the home defeat by Everton, but with Valon Behrami struggling to find his form, the Canning Town-born midfielder may be left to fight it out with Dyer for that starting slot.

The situation with both Alessandro Diamanti and James Tomkins though is a little less clear.

Diamanti missed the trip to the KC Stadium with a hip injury suffered in training and he is rated as doubtful for a return, while Tomkins hurt his groin on England under-21 duty and is not expected to recover in time.

Saturday's game looks a must-win match for the Hammers, who threw away a two-goal lead at Hull City on Saturday.

That point did haul them out of the bottom three, but with Manchester United coming to town next week, a victory over Burnley will be essential.

The club have given 150 tickets to soliders at the Colchester Garrison for Saturday's game and they will hope that their presence inspires the players to battle even harder during the match.

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