West Ham United assistant manager Neil McDonald was in high spirits as he looked ahead to Monday night's trip to Queens Park Rangers.
The Hammers are looking to secure their first away win of the season at Loftus Road before welcoming Arsenal to the Boleyn Ground next weekend. McDonald confirmed that West Ham United will be wearing black armbands on Monday in memory of the late John Bond, who sadly passed away this week, ahead of a further tribute to the Hammers legend at the Boleyn Ground next Saturday.
Macca could you give us any team news ahead of the trip to Loftus Road?
NM: "We have got everybody fit who we thought would be fit for the game against QPR. We still have a couple of players out but they are getting closer and closer to a return. We have everybody available who we had last week.
Andy Carroll has been touted for a possible return against Arsenal, is there any more news on his return?
NM: "He has been progressing really well but unfortunately the game on Monday night has come a little too early for him. He needs to get a full week's training behind him to make sure he is fit and well so at the moment the target is Arsenal."
John Bond sadly passed away last week, will the players be wearing black armbands against QPR?
NM: "Yes they will. John Bond was a massive part of this football club representing it over 400 times. It is a tragic loss that he has passed away and it is right the club will be wearing black armbands on Monday. I am also sure we will also be doing something special at the Boleyn Ground against Arsenal."
Is that something you feel the supporters will really appreciate?
NM: "Of course, the supporters really like people who show loyalty and give their all for the football club and John certainly did that."
Do you feel that there was a slight over-reaction after the 4-1 loss to Wigan Athletic in the Capital One Cup?
NM: "I think it is always disappointing when you lose 4-1 at home. We made a lot of changes to the team and expected the players who came in to step up to the plate. Unfortunately some of them let themselves down because of the way it ended. We are in very good spirits in the league and we are really looking forward to the next game. The atmosphere within the club is still very buoyant."
You expressed your disappointment but ultimately the club will be judged on its showing in the Barclays Premier League?
NM: "Yes you are right, it is vitally important that we stay in the league and we need to try and pick up as many points as we can to reach that magic 40-point mark as soon as possible."
You must be pleased that Mark Noble has put pen to paper on a new long-term deal?
NM: "It is very important, he is a big part of this football club and he has been playing really well, just like he did last season helping us to get promoted from the Championship. He has got his just rewards with a new contract so well done Mark."
What are you expecting from QPR, they played very well against Tottenham but still lost and then, like West Ham, suffered defeat in the Capital One Cup?
NM: "They have got some very good players, I attended the game against Spurs where they played really well and probably deserved something from the game and I also watched them against Reading on Wednesday. They are conceding goals at the moment and that is a weakness we need to expose as much as we can. It will be a difficult game, however, they will be very well organised playing in a system that suits the players they have available."
QPR invested heavily in the summer, bringing in some top quality players. Why do you feel it can take so much time for players to gel and come together?
NM: "There are a lot of reasons, new ideas from a new manager, playing in a new system and ultimately just getting to know everybody around them in new surroundings."
It has been a very good start to your league campaign, have your aims changed at all since the start of the season?
NM: "We set a target for the entire season but we try and break that down into small goals such as the first eight games. We have eight points so far and we are very happy with that but hopefully we can get a few more ahead of a difficult run of games."
Yossi Benayoun missed the Capital One Cup game, how is he and will he feature against QPR on Monday?
NM: "Yossi is fine; as we explained during the week he couldn't play against Wigan due to the Jewish holy day of Yom Kippur. He has been training very well trying to put pressure of the players who have been starting; he will definitely be in the squad for Monday."
QPR are yet to win a game in the Barclays Premier League, does that make them a more dangerous opponent?
NM: "I think it does, losing their last game at home to Reading will have hurt and they will come out against us all guns blazing. We need to be ready for the first 15-20 minutes. As I mentioned I went to watch their two previous games and they started both very well. We need to ensure we are solid and organised then push our game onto them as the game develops."
QPR struggled with the physicality of the Reading frontline and they also have a lot of injuries, is that something you will be looking to exploit?
NM: "They have got a few injuries especially in the defensive areas but we know what sort of team they are and how they play. We need to exploit the weaknesses we have found and if that means playing hard against the back four then that is exactly what we will do."
A few former West Ham United players now play for QPR but are you surprised to not be coming up against Rob Green?
NM: "Yes of course, Julio Cesar is a very good goalkeeper and even though he has let in a few goals against Reading and Spurs he has also made some very good saves. It is disappointing for Rob of course but he will continue to work hard and fight for his place in the team."
As someone who has worked with Rob Green day in day out, just how good a goalkeeper is he?
NM: "He is very good, he played a big part in getting us promoted last year before his contract expired and he moved on to pastures new. It hasn't worked out for him so far but as all players who aren't in the team, he needs to keep working hard and wait for his chance. I wish him all the best."