West Ham boss Alan Pardew was left to rue the absence of his first choice central defensive partnership, after watching his side slump to a 4-0 defeat against Bolton.
Anton Ferdinand and Danny Gabbidon both missed West Ham's miserable trip to north, as their respective understudies failed to cope with Bolton's front three.
James Collins and George McCartney tried manfully against the likes of Kevin Davies, El-Hadji Diouf and Nicolas Anelka but Pardew was willing to concede his side were short defensively.
"We knew it was going to be a tough order today without our two first-choice centre-halves against a fresh Bolton team who were very good today," he told Prem Plus. "Unfortunately we were the opposite.
"We have to search for a team that's going to put some points on the board.
"We were very stretched at the back today, the two centre-halves have never even had a training session together. We battled hard and tried to play but having said that, this was a fair result.
"We need strong characters to rebound after this result.
"We weren't good enough today and as a group we have to stick together now. There is a long way to go, we know we've got some problems but we can sort them out."