George McCartney has returned to West Ham United on a season-long loan from Sunderland to become Sam Allardyce's sixth summer signing.

The Northern Irish left-back made 71 appearances in a hugely successful two-year stay between 2006 and 2008, which culminated in him being named Hammer of the Year runner-up in his final full season. He will wear the No3 shirt.

He said: "It is brilliant to be coming back. For me personally it will be great to be playing again for a club like West Ham. It is a big opportunity for me and I can't wait to get started again. I am looking forward to being part of the manager's squad and the club's push for promotion.

"I have got experience of the Championship. It is a tough league to be in but with the signings the manager has made already and the players already here, it is a healthy squad. In my eyes, it is more than capable of getting us up at the first attempt."

McCartney left to join Sunderland on 1 September 2008 before spending last season on loan at Leeds United, playing 32 times. Coincidentally, the 30-year-old defender's Boleyn Ground return could come against Leeds on Sunday week.

He is especially looking forward to running out at the Boleyn again. "The West Ham fans are fantastic. I remember how good they were to me when I was here before.

"I know that if you do the business on the pitch, they will get behind you both home and away. More than ever this season, we need them behind the team as we look to try again promoted. The fans will be a big part in that."

Another proven Premier League performer, McCartney follows a host of new recruits to arrive at the club over the summer, namely Abdoulaye Faye, Kevin Nolan, Matt Taylor, Joey O'Brien and John Carew.

McCartney has experience of a successful Championship challenge, having helped Sunderland to the 2004/05 title and promotion in his first spell at the Stadium of Light. He was also named the club's player of the year in that campaign.