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Top 5: First XI costs in Premier League

Transfers 37 minutes ago
Read
 Posted by ESPN Staff
Jan 24, 2006

Zamora admits his place is under threat

Bobby Zamora is ready to show West Ham boss Alan Pardew he can forge a formidable strike partnership with the club's new £7million record signing Dean Ashton.

The England under-21 international was paraded on the pitch at Upton Park before last night's 2-1 win over Fulham after agreeing terms on a four-and-a-half year contract.

Pardew believes Ashton's arrival can only be good for competition, having also brought in Israeli Yaniv Katan this month.

Although neither Zamora nor Marlon Harewood found the net against Fulham - two brilliant goals came from Anton Ferdinand and Yossi Benayoun - it was a gutsy performance by the Hammers' front two.

Indeed, Zamora came within inches of netting a first home goal so far this season when his header struck the base of the post late in the second half.

The 25-year-old recently signed a new long-term contract with his boyhood club, and is confident he can leave Pardew with a real selection dilemma over the coming weeks.

'Dean's arrival does put my place under threat,' the former Brighton and Tottenham striker insisted.

'I have had a few mountains to climb in the past, I got over them and I will be working hard in training and out on the pitch, that is all I can do.

'I have shown this season I can fight for my place and I am ready to do so again.'

Zamora added: 'I was given a new contract so that shows how much the manager values me and I am pleased with that.

'This is my team and I want to play here for a very long time.'

Victory over Fulham, who rallied after the restart to pull a goal back through Heidar Helguson and then forced goalkeeper Roy Carroll into several fine saves, moved the Hammers up into ninth place.

Pardew's side have performed above expectation this season following their promotion back to the top flight via the play-offs.

And Zamora maintained the `feel-good factor' within the squad was something to be proud of.

'Confidence is high and the spirit in the club is second to none and that is why we are doing well,' the striker said.

'Every time we go into training we have a laugh and a joke and you can see that in the league.

'The majority of us have been together for a while now and it takes time.

'We are adding in certain areas now, which is good because you can't just stand still.

'Thankfully the manager has still stuck with a lot of the players that got the club up there.

'I am a West Ham fan and I want them to go forward and do well.'

Pardew, meanwhile, admitted the West Ham board had baulked at Norwich's asking fee for Ashton, the 22-year-old having only joined the Canaries from Crewe 12 months ago.

The Hammers boss, though, does not believe it is a 'gamble', and not like the situation Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger faced when his club agreed a hefty fee with Southampton for their rising star Theo Walcott.

'You are talking here about an England under-21 international, who has a good record in the Premiership,' Pardew reflected.

'You would have a certain more degree of satisfaction in signing Dean than young Theo, who is just embarking on his career.'

Last night marked the final appearance for the Hammers of full-back Tomas Repka, who leaves after more than four years to return to the Czech Republic with Sparta Prague.

Pardew is likely to now turn his attentions to bringing in defensive cover before the transfer window closes.

Any new arrival, though, will have 'big shoes to fill', according to Zamora.

The striker said: 'The fans love him and we love him. He is a passionate player and we have wished him all the best.

'Whoever comes in will have some big shoes to fill because Tomas is a top player and we are going to miss him.'