Thursday, 12 April 2007

The Great Escape

Alan Curbishley believes that keeping West Ham in the Premiership would represent a greater turnaround than Harry Redknapp's efforts at Portsmouth last season. In an article in The Independent, the Hammers boss is quoted as saying: "When I came in I never envisaged we'd be where we are. I thought we would have picked up more points. I was also hoping the run-in would be a situation where we'd be thinking about getting nearer the middle of the table. It didn't happen but if we get out of it, it would be a fantastic achievement."

In the same piece, Lucas Neill claims the squad is full of confidence and relishing the challenge ahead. "We're the form team, which is a nice feeling when there are only six games to go," states the Aussie. "It's good to have the momentum, the belief that you are going to win every time you play - but it's important not to get carried away. It's important that we don't take our foot off the pedal, show the same spirit and attitude, and make sure we stay organised. Sheffield United away - as long as we don't let them get away from us - a draw may not be the worst result there, because we will still give ourselves a chance. At home, I fancy us against anyone. Chelsea, Everton, Bolton, they are all beatable and, with the crowd behind us, we have every chance. Everyone's smiling now, and we can't wait for the next game." Whether a solitary point at Bramall Lane really would constitute a good result is debatable. Any one who has engineered an heroic Irons escape via the
BBC's predictor will surely have counted Saturday's game as a must-win.

On the transfer front there is speculation linking Alan Curbishley with a move for Scunthorpe United striker Billy Sharp. The Daily Star say a £700k offer could be in the pipeline. There are also reports from Iceland that Arsene Wenger is now leading a 20 club European wide race to land Icelandic wonderkid Kolbeinn Sigthorsson. The Icelandic under-17 international who plays for the HK Kopavogur is the hottest young property in European football at the moment and the Gunners boss has tried to lure him to North London every year for the last three years without any success. Icelandic bosses want to keep Sigthorsson at home for another two or three years to further his development before letting him move abroad. However with the clubs lining up to take him they face a tough task to keep him. Eggert Magnusson is also keen on the 16-year-old, as reported here last week, while Reading and Blackburn have had him watched along with Real Madrid, Barcelona and Ajax among others.

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