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Last Updated: Wednesday, 10 May 2006, 11:28 GMT 12:28 UK
West Ham duo winning fitness race
Dean Ashton
Ashton suffered a hamstring injury against West Brom
West Ham manager Alan Pardew says he will ask Matthew Etherington and Dean Ashton to play through the pain if necessary in Saturday's FA Cup final.

Ashton is rated as 60-40 to recover from a hamstring injury in time to face Liverpool in Cardiff, and Etherington is on the mend after an ankle knock.

"Apart from them everybody is fit and we still have a fair bit of time left before the final," he said.

"This is FA Cup final week. We expect people to put their lives on the line."

If it is just pain you can play in a match like this
Alan Pardew

Record signing Ashton's chances of playing have improved dramatically since he limped out of the 1-0 win at West Brom with a hamstring injury, and he hopes to return to training on Thursday.

Etherington missed the West Brom game after suffering a slight muscle strain in the warm-up, but has since picked up a worse knock in training.

"At least Matthew has given himself a bit more of a chance. The swelling has gone down from when he first did the damage," he said.

"I will start working on my cup final team now and even if Deano and Matty can't train yet, I have players of a similar ilk I can use to take their roles if I think they will be fit in time for the final.

"When I was a player at Crystal Palace my manager Steve Coppell would ask about people's injuries and ask whether it was just pain.

"If it is just pain you can play in a match like this."

West Brom 0-1 West Ham
01 May 06 |  Premiership


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