Roeder’s recovery will boost Hammers, says Gale

WEST HAM old boy Tony Gale believes Glenn Roeder’s release from intensive care yesterday will inspire his players in Saturday’s massive London derby with Chelsea at Upton Park.

The Hammers boss, 47, collapsed eight days ago and is now preparing for neurosurgery before his expected return to work, possibly as early as mid-June.

In his absence, non-executive director Trevor Brooking has been appointed caretaker manager for the final three games of the season.

The former England international made a flying start, with Sunday’s 1-0 success at Manchester City lifting the Hammers to within two points of fourth-bottom Bolton.

Whether Roeder resumes control of a team in the Premiership or First Division now rests on the results of Brooking’s last two matches at the helm, against Chelsea and then at Birmingham the following Sunday.

Former Hammers defender Gale said: “It’s obviously one step at a time for Glenn, but the fact he’s out of intensive care is great news for everyone. And I’m sure the lads will get a great lift from that going into the weekend,” he said.

Gale feels Upton Park chairman Terry Brown and managing director Paul Aldridge will be sympathetic if Roeder favours a gradual return to work.

“Glenn has a young family and has to think about them and his wife Faith, who is going through a lot at the moment,” he said.

“As he is nursed back to full fitness it will be a case of how he feels about it, when he wants to come back and what role he takes. I’m sure that will be fine by everyone. I think that is his decision with his family, which is most important,” said Gale.

Roeder is due to have his operation in the coming weeks and is due back in his office at the club’s Chadwell Heath training ground in east London within six to eight weeks.

In Roeder’s absence, Saturday’s showdown with Chelsea could see the return of Paolo di Canio.

The maverick Italian forward, who was left out in the cold by Roeder after making a series of outspoken comments about the club, missed Sunday’s game with a stomach problem but was back in training on Monday.

There was further good news for the Hammers yesterday as Brooking vowed to give Les Ferdinand until the 11th hour to prove his fitness for Saturday. Brooking also said Joe Cole and Steve Lomas could be fit.

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