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By ESPN Staff
Aug 12, 2007

Curbs ready to start with Ashton and spend more cash

Manager Alan Curbishley is ready to hand Dean Ashton a ticket straight back into his starting line-up if the mis-firing Hammers do not start hitting the right spot. Curbishley could not conceal his frustration at a bitterly disappointing opening-day performance which saw West Ham slump to a two-goal defeat against Manchester City at Upton Park. After spending all last season battling to avoid relegation, only completing their miracle escape in the final game at Manchester United, Curbishley spent big in the summer, bringing in Craig Bellamy, Freddie Ljungberg and Julien Faubert in an effort to push West Ham higher up the table. On this evidence, it appears nothing much has changed other than Carlos Tevez is no longer around to save the EastEnders. Not even the return of Ashton after virtually a year on the sidelines with ankle trouble could cheer Curbishley too much. But, while accepting part of the responsibility for the debacle against Sven-Goran Eriksson's men, Curbishley warned his ailing forwards Ashton would be rushed back sooner than anyone imagined if there is no immediate improvement. 'Dean needs games but not situations like this one when I have to put him on with half an hour to go and tell him to get on with it,' observed Curbishley. 'We should give him more time but he is desperate to play and if we don't do better than that, he will be starting, that is for sure. 'The whole day was just a massive disappointment. I can't take any positives from it whatsoever and I am just as disappointment with myself as anybody. 'I should have done something about the shape of the side before City scored and when I did try to find a spark I ended up switching too many players around.' Certainly, the decision to introduce Ashton for George McCartney and push Matthew Etherington back into defence was a strange one. Etherington had been causing City problems at the time and the substitution helped ease the pressure on Eriksson's side. Although he still has captain Lucas Neill, Faubert and Scott Parker to return from injury, Curbishley is now set to buy again. A move for Newcastle's Nolberto Solano has been ruled out but while Curbishley also claimed there had been no more contact with the St James' Park club over Kieron Dyer, speculation persists a deal for the England international could be revived. 'As everyone knows, the Dyer thing got pulled at the 11th hour,' he said. 'There has been no contact since. 'We have been active in other areas for the last couple of weeks and we are keen to try and do some things. 'But now the season has started it gets even more difficult, so we will have to see what happens.'