Wednesday, 3 October 2007

News In Brief(s)

Mark Noble says he is expecting a tough test when he comes face-to-face with former West Ham team-mate Nigel Reo-Coker. The Hammers take on Aston Villa at Villa Park at the weekend and while Noble is looking forward to reacquainting himself with England Under-21 colleague Reo-Coker, he insists there will be no love lost when the game starts. He told the club's official website: "It's going to be a tough test. I've played so much with him so it's going to be a strange one. Obviously I've played with him, Marlon Harewood, Ashley Young, Gabriel Agbonlahor and Luke Moore. It'll be a good game and there'll be a lot of banter before and after hopefully but once you cross the white line friendships go out the window and it gets serious on the pitch. I'm sure they'll be geared up after letting a 4-1 lead slip against Spurs. They'll be upset and they'll want to put things right but they'll also be looking to win all their home games so it's not going to be easy."

Meanwhile, the players are still coming to terms with high expectation levels at the club this season, says captain
Lucas Neill . The defender has been frustrated with the number of errors the unsettled Hammers' back four has made in recent games, but believes their spirited performance against Arsenal could be the kick up the bum' that was needed. He said: "It takes some getting used to after last year. It was just about survival and now it's about making sure that we're consistently winning. This year, with the money that's been spent and the way that we started the season everyone's attitude and expectations have changed. Obviously, we're all chasing fifth spot - us Newcastle, Blackburn, Portsmouth, etc - and as a result it's a different mindset, it's a different attitude to approaching every game. You're expected to go out and beat every team that's not in the top four - or at least put in a display worthy of a win."

The West Ham defensive line-up has changed five times in nine games in all competitions this season, with
George McCartney the only settled name on the teamsheet. Neill believes that lack of stability in the backline hasn't helped, with injuries affecting himself, Anton Ferdinand, James Collins and Danny Gabbidon at different times. He said: "I think it's going to change throughout the season depending on who we play. The manager has said on record that he'll play different players in different games depending on how he thinks certain attributes will contribute to the game. So it's nice to have a settled back four, but to be honest everyone's so close on the same level, it would be very hard to pick your first choice back four," he added. "It's been very small problems, but it's been magnified because they've ended in goals, crossbars or very close calls. It's just about communication and getting the right feeling and letting it all click together. We're not far away. Just when we're making our mistakes, they seem to be big ones."

As the pressure mounts on Paul Robinson, Robert Green says he remains 'hopeful but not expectant' of a recall into Steve McClaren's England squad.
The Hammers keeper is being widely tipped for a return to the squad and possibly the starting line up as Spurs keeper Robinson appears to be stumbling form one mistake to another. looking back at his performance over the weekend, Green said: "I was disappointed to let in another goal. I almost got to it but just couldn't quite get there. It was just one of those things. Fortunately I managed to save the ones I could save. You're playing against a quality side in Arsenal and they're going to create chances. I think it's been a long time since they played a game where they haven't scored. You know it's going to be tough."
Lastly, Freddie Ljungberg is finally giving up his other job as an underwear model. The former Calvin Klein advertising pin-up, who moved from Arsenal in the summer, said: "It's weird to see yourself on billboards and I don't really enjoy it now. It depends on what sort of person you are, but I don't really fancy it."

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