Parker fortunate not to see red card?

WHATEVER the merits of Scott Parker s booking against Fulham on Sunday, it means that the midfielder will definitely miss the trip to Stoke City a week on Saturday, writes DAVE EVANS. Parker reached five bookings in nine appearances for the Hammers this s

WHATEVER the merits of Scott Parker's booking against Fulham on Sunday, it means that the midfielder will definitely miss the trip to Stoke City a week on Saturday, writes DAVE EVANS.

Parker reached five bookings in nine appearances for the Hammers this season, though manager Gianfranco Zola felt that his yellow card on Sunday was totally unjustified.

The West Ham boss seemed to get himself embroiled in the discussions with referee Phil Dowd and his linesman after the incident between Parker and Fulham midfielder Kagisho Dikgacoi, but despite his close proximity, it appears he didn't see what happened.

"I haven't seen it," admitted Zola after the game. "The linesman saw what I think was an elbow from their number 34.


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"I was complaining because in my opinion Scott Parker didn't do anything and didn't deserve to be booked."

Fulham boss Roy Hodgson hadn't seen it either, but he was forthright in his views.

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"I come from a generation where violent conduct is violent," he said, after telling journalists that he didn't want to discuss the incident.

"I have a problem getting my head around two players nose to nose and one of them sent off for violent conduct. I have a problem with that."

With the benefit of TV replays, Hodgson may well have changed his tune. It clearly shows the South African making contact on Parker with his elbow. It was a tentative blow, but an elbow none the less.

Parker's reaction was to push out at Dikgacoi, who retaliated by pushing the West Ham man in the face, before the pair faced up to each other with foreheads touching and the Fulham man, again tentatively, made a butting movement.

The linesman spotted the initial elbow from Dikgacoi and he was given a straight red card for that, but when you consider the retaliation from Parker, he was probably lucky to escape with just a yellow card himself.

Valon Behrami returned to action in the last 20 minutes, replacing Parker, and he will be hoping to step into his boots for the trip to the Britannia Stadium.

Zola will choose between the Swiss international and Czech Republic midfielder Radoslav Kovac, who was dropped for the Fulham game and didn't even appear on the bench.

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