O’Brien impresses West Ham boss Allardyce

Hammers manager Sam Allardyce is keen to bring in former Bolton midfielder Joey O’Brien, if he can come through pre-season training unscathed.

West Ham boss Sam Allardyce is keen to bring his former Bolton Wanderers midfielder Joey O’Brien to Upton Park – if he can prove his fitness.

The 25-year-old played 45 minutes in Monday’s opening pre-season friendly against Young Boys and Allardyce is convinced that he can be a useful player in their Championship campaign.

“He is an outstanding player,” the West Ham boss told the Recorder from Switzerland this week.

“For someone to play 28 times in the Premier League at the age of 19 shows that he has a lot of talent and if he is fit then he could be a very good player for us.”

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Fitness is the key for O’Brien, who has three international caps for the Republic of Ireland. His recent career has been plagued by injury and he ended last season on loan at League One outfit Sheffield Wednesday.

Allardyce is well aware of the risks. “He has to prove his fitness,” he said. “He has had a very frustrating time with injuries over the last two and a half years because he was misdiagnosed and then didn’t receive the right treatment.

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“But it was good to see him come through 45 minutes on Monday without any reaction and now we will just have to see how it goes with him. We have him until the end of pre-season before we have to make a decision.”

Allardyce has spoken to the England internationals in the squad and he revealed that at least one of them could be persuaded to stay for the new season.

Scott Parker, Robert Green and Carlton Cole are all on the tour of Switzerland, but are interesting a host of Premier League clubs.

“We sat down and chatted and they said they were happy to do their pre-season training with us and see what happened,” said the manager.

“Obviously we are a business as well as a football club and if the right sort of bid comes in for a player then we would have to look at it and we would certainly keep the player aware of what is going on, but I am hopeful that they won’t all be leaving.”

Allardyce also confirmed that the club are talking to another of his Bolton old boys in Icelandic striker Eidur Gudjohnsen.

“We are certainly interested in bringing him to West Ham,” said the boss. “But negotiations on this one are at a very early stage.”

The West Ham squad are in Switzerland until tomorrow and the manager is convinced that it has done everyone a lot of good.

“We are having three training sessions a day and also having plenty of time to do other things which will enable the team to bond – the old ones and the young ones,” said Allardyce.

“We are cut off from everything here and that means we can totally focus on ourselves and what we have to do for the coming season.

“Everyone is working really hard, but I think they are also enjoying it.”

West Ham play their final match on the tour today (Wednesday) against Basel with a 7.30pm kick-off.

While this Saturday a Hammers XI will travel for a friendly at Bishop’s Stortford.

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