Grant still believes

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Football News

West Ham manager Avram Grant insists he remains confident of Barclays Premier League survival after the 1-1 draw at home to Blackburn.

A poor display looked set to end in a defeat which would have all but ended their chances of staying in the top flight after Jason Roberts struck in the first half. But Grant was handed a lifeline when midfielder Thomas Hitzlsperger drove in an equaliser 12 minutes from time.

The Hammers head to Wigan next week in what is likely to be a season-deciding clash for both sides and Grant is adamant his side have a chance. He said: "I think I'm confident. We have a chance to stay up, of course."

He added: "But first we need to win at Wigan. If we win against Wigan, we'll be above them. This is the most important game. Two games before the end, this is the most important game. We need to win.

"Maybe that was the story of our season today. We were on top of the other team, created a lot of chances, and had good moments in the last 10 minutes. But we didn't score. It's happened again and again, and it's cost us two points. But we've kept our chances alive."

The Hammers were once more without the inspiration of midfielder Scott Parker and were woefully short of ideas until Hitzlsperger's late bullet.

Grant fielded four strikers for most of the second half but his side resorted all too often to hitting the ball long and Rovers defender Chris Samba was immense in dealing with the threat.

Substitute Robbie Keane missed an open goal with time running out and Grant admitted that they badly need Parker to recover from his Achilles injury before next Saturday.

He said: "Every week we say 'next week' with Scott. No one more than me wants him to play, but if he cannot, he cannot.

"I didn't think it was such a bad injury, but we've missed him since Manchester United. We want him to play. There is no one more than me who wants him to play. He's more than a player for me."

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Robbie Keane
Scott Parker
Blackburn Rovers
Premier League
Manchester United
Thomas Hitzlsperger
Wigan Athletic
West Ham United
Jason Roberts

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