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Dean Ashton on Carlos Tevez

John Simkin

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Upton Park has finally lost its Argentinian star to Old Trafford but West Ham United supporters should stop singing Carlos Tevez's praises and embrace their team, says the Hammers' England international striker Dean Ashton.

"It would be very sad if the fans just carried on singing about Tevez and weren't singing about the other players in the team," said Ashton. "We want to put that behind us, start a new season and get the fans excited with that.

"Everyone wants a fresh start and the players we've brought in have given us an extra buzz. There has been a lot of changes at the club and it feels like a decent place to be and that shows."

Ashton showed enough in 45 minutes during West Ham's 2-1 win against Roma on Saturday to suggest that he is more than capable of filling the void left by Tevez's move to Manchester United, both as a goalscorer and as something of a cult hero among Hammers fans.

This was Ashton's first appearance at the Boleyn Ground since April 2006, his broken ankle having ruled him out of West Ham's entire 2006-07 season, and he looked sharp, particularly when confounding Philippe Mexès before thumping home the winner.

Whether the striker will be thrown into the fray against Sven-Goran Eriksson's Manchester City in their first Premier League match of the season next weekend remains to be seen.

The Hammers' manager, Alan Curbishley, experimented by deploying the former Arsenal player Freddie Ljungberg in an advanced central role to combat Roma's formation, and Craig Bellamy, signed in the summer from Liverpool, and Bobby Zamora started the game. Ashton's determination, though, is not in doubt.

"I've seen a different side to football since I've been injured and I'll never ever take it for granted again," he said. "I'd play for nothing if it meant getting out there again. That doesn't matter to me; I just want to play football for years. It's made me appreciate that."

Curbishley confirmed after the match that Kieron Dyer's anticipated transfer from Newcastle United had collapsed.

"We made an offer, had it accepted, agreed personal terms and the player passed a medical, but it was pulled at the 11th hour by Newcastle and there's not much we can do about that," said Curbishley. "It has never happened to me before. We are disappointed and the player is very disappointed but it's definitely off."

The deal, which was reportedly worth about £6m, would have reunited the England international with Lee Bowyer, his former team-mate at Newcastle. Dyer and Bowyer were sent off for brawling with each other during a match against Aston Villa in 2005.

The Premier League newcomers Derby have an injury scare days before their season starts, with the defender Claude Davis to be assessed this week after he suffered a hamstring strain in the friendly match with Espanyol on Saturday. The £3m signing from Sheffield United left the pitch after 62 minutes of the 2-2 draw.

"We will have to be very careful with him in next week's training," the Derby manager, Billy Davies, told the Rams' website. "We will see how it settles down and monitor it over the next three or four days. Hopefully we can have him right."

Davis was making his first home appearance for the club, after recovering from a virus that ruled him out of their previous pre-season matches against Nottingham Forest and Crewe. The defender joined Derby after making 22 senior appearances for Sheffield United last season.


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Guest Stephen Turner

John, I suspect West Ham will do rather well this season, more like 2005, than 2006. How's that for the kiss of death.

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