Mark Noble believes West Ham United's team spirit will again will be key if the Hammers are to overcome Stoke City on Monday evening.

The midfielder is enjoying life in the top half of the Barclays Premier League table following last weekend's fantastic 1-0 win at Newcastle United, but Noble says nobody at the club is looking past the visit of the Potters.

"It is good to be in the position we are in, as you can imagine," said the reigning Hammer of the Year. "It is good coming into training every day, but we are keen not to get too carried away as there is long way to go in the season.

"We need to keep our feet on the ground and keep working hard. That is why we are getting results at the minute, because everyone is pulling their weight in the team and throughout the squad."

Noble said everyone was looking forward to the sell-out visit of Stoke but said the Hammers are more than aware of the threat Tony Pulis and his men will present, including former Hammers Matty Etherington and Matthew Upson.

One of the keys to the Hammers making such a solid start is that the bulk of the team have been together for more than a year under Sam Allardyce. Noble feels that the quality additions made over the summer have further boosted the squad.

"We had a long season together last year, playing over 50-odd games, and enjoyed the thrill of getting promoted as a team.

"Everyone is still buzzing from coming up and I think the players that we had in the squad from last season and the players we have brought in the summer,like Yossi Benayoun, Ginge [James Collins], Andy Carroll, Matt Jarvis, Van [Modibo Maiga] and Mo [Diame] have come in and become part of the squad straight off.

"We had Premier League players already in the squad and that helps when you get promoted. Then the lads I mentioned are all top players and have made a difference."

West Ham have collected four points from their last two Barclays Premier League fixtures at home to champions Manchester City and at Newcastle United - results Noble puts down to the way manager Sam Allardyce and his staff have prepared the players for each and every match.

The No16 said Big Sam's influence has paid massive dividends in terms of his own personal form - form that has seen him championed for a senior England call-up in recent weeks.

"The Gaffer's man-management is second to none and that is important in football these days. He allows us to express ourselves as a team. I do think I am playing some of the best football in my career at the moment.

"The manager likes us to be organised. Every detail is spot-on and I think that is making a difference for us as a team. We are keeping more clean sheets, which is a big key in trying to win games. We are working really hard and are harder to break down.

"With some of the football we are playing - the way we passed it about against Newcastle last weekend and the way we played against Manchester City, - it is enjoyable to be playing out there.

"The Gaffer tells me every game to get on the ball, make us play and then I can bring the qualities of the other lads into it. I have never been told by the Gaffer to boot the ball and all of that!

"Winning games is important and we are doing that more often than not, while playing some really good football, and it is a joy to be involved."

Chelsea