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Jan, 11, 2011

Grant in dark over Hammers future

Avram Grant admits he does not know how much longer he will be in charge of West Ham - despite masterminding a 2-1 win over Birmingham in the first leg of the Carling Cup semi-final.

• Lomas: Hammers embody Grant's spirit

The Hammers boss said that the result "does nothing" for his chances of remaining in the Upton Park hotseat.

Reports prior to the Birmingham game had suggested that Grant's days were numbered, irrespective of the result, with the owners having apparently made up their mind to oust him.

Despite going on a run of just one loss from the last seven matches, Grant does not sound optimistic of remaining at Upton Park over the long term.

"[The result] doesn't do nothing," he said. "It [the speculation] doesn't help, because if it we had stability like other clubs in the position - we are one point from Wigan, from Wolves, from Fulham - from other teams everything is quiet, everything is settled like it needs to be."

Grant added: "Don't worry about me - I will be fine in any case. I really, really appreciate that you are worried about me and you like me and you want me to be near you! I like you also, by the way."

Asked if he will be in charge for the Carling Cup second leg, Grant replied: "I'm not busy with this, you need to ask the person that gives the orders." He added: "If I don't want to be here, I will go to the owner and say I don't want to be here. The other decision is not mine.''

Meanwhile, West Ham striker Carlton Cole was delighted to hit the winner - even if his goal owed much to an unfortunate error by Blues goalkeeper Ben Foster.

"I didn't strike the ball properly and I think Ben helped me. The goal wasn't the goal I imagined it to be, but they all count,'' Cole said. "I'm chuffed, the team's chuffed, and we've done the job. I've not scored a winner in ages and today's a great day to do it.''

The win comes just days after Grant's troops progressed to the FA Cup fourth round after defeating Barnsley, and Cole added: "After the FA Cup win, coming into this one we were confident.

"It was important to go over there [for the return leg] with the win and to defend it.''

Birmingham manager Alex McLeish described Cole's winner as "a little bit of a monstrosity''.

He said of England goalkeeper Foster: "He's a big man, he takes it on the chin, he doesn't hide and he apologised to the players. He's saved us many times and he'll save us many times in the future.''

McLeish was adamant his side should have had a penalty when Matthew Upson appeared to push Barry Ferguson.

"It's a stone-waller - I've seen it about five times. It wasn't just an impediment, it was a barge in the back. If that's a shoulder charge then I don't know what I'm talking about.''

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