Football Expert & Columnist
West Ham: Striker shortage is sending them into scrap, says Jamie Redknapp
Jamie Redknapp fears West Ham's striker shortage has sent them hurtling into a relegation scrap.
Last Updated: 23/11/13 8:10pm
Sam Allardyce's side have struggled for goals since £15million summer signing Andy Carroll got injured and now lie just one place above the drop zone following Saturday's 3-0 home defeat to Chelsea.
The West Ham boss re-signed Carlton Cole after the transfer window closed, but has few other options in attack and Redknapp says the club need to improve their form in the next two games or else face a season of struggle.
"With every game that goes past, Andy Carroll is looking more and more like Ronaldo," he told Saturday Night Football.
"He looks like such a great player because they need him. I feel sorry for Sam Allardyce because every team that he's had has had a target man, someone they could hit and be direct.
"At the moment he hasn't got that option. He has Carlton Cole, but refused to take it up tonight, which I thought was strange. If you've got him on the bench he must be fit.
"They need to get Carroll fit and they need to get Winston Reid fit because the next two games are against Fulham at home and Palace away.
"If they don't get points out of those they are in a relegation scrap, if they aren't already."
Redknapp feels Allardyce will be particularly frustrated with his players after starting well against Chelsea and rarely being troubled for the opening 20 minutes.
Things soon unravelled when Jussi Jaaskelainen felled Oscar to give away the penalty that led to Chelsea's opening goal - but the Sky Sports pundit said Guy Demel's back pass was the root cause of that incident - and ultimately West Ham's defeat.
Redknapp said: "There wasn't anything in the game and the message has been the same since football started - don't give away cheap goals, especially when you're playing against a better side than you.
"The most important thing is to remain tight and difficult to beat and what they did was almost football suicide.
"They gave a goal away that was so cheap. It was just a hopeful ball and if you knee it back you have to be 100% sure that it's going to be firm enough to get back to the keeper. If not you have to pass it back.
"He has used his knee because he knows the keeper can pick the ball up, but it's a poor piece of play.
"It's a bad mistake and Jussi came roaring out, almost kamikaze because he didn't know what to do.
"It's very easy to blame him, but I think Demel put him in such a difficult position."