Bywater pens new Hammers deal
By Neil Foster
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
The 22-year-old joined The Hammers in February 1998 but has made only five first-team appearances in his time at Upton Park.
He has suffered serious hand injuries in recent times and Hammers manager Glenn Roeder told the club's official website that he sees the former Rochdale trainee as number two to England keeper David James.
"Steve has had a horrendous time with injuries to his hands which are of course most important to a goalkeeper," said Roeder.
"He has had both his scaphoids screwed in and since that he hasn't had any reaction and he feels good.
"I pulled him in on the first day and said to him it is the most important season of his life. At the moment he clearly steps up to be David's number two and if he is going to do that I have to be confident that if he is needed he can do the job, and I am sure he can do."
Bywater has spent time on loan at Wycombe, Hull, Wolves and Cardiff City in the past few seasons but has now committed himself to another season with Roeder's side.
"He has signed for another year and like all of them is taking training very seriously and is working very hard," added the boss.
"He is looking as fit as he has ever done and I believe goalkeepers should do the same fitness work as the outfield players in pre-season because if you are physically fit you will be mentally fit as well."