West Ham United are delighted to announce that Joey O'Brien has signed a new long-term contract with the club.

The Republic of Ireland international full-back, who joined the Hammers on a free transfer following his release by Bolton Wanderers in 2011, has put pen to paper on a new deal until summer 2016.

The 26-year-old has enjoyed a superb 18 months since being reunited with his old Bolton manager Sam Allardyce in east London, scoring the winner on his 50th appearance in claret and blue in the New Year's Day Barclays Premier League victory over Norwich City.

The Dubliner was naturally delighted to have secured his long-term future with West Ham, with his previous deal having been set to expire in the summer.

"I am delighted," he confirmed. "It's for three-and-a-half years so hopefully I'll have plenty more good times with the club and that's what I'm looking forward to doing now.

"I definitely dreamed of what has happened since I joined West Ham. When I got released by Bolton, I had not played for about two-and-a-half years in the Premier League or really any games in that length of time, so since I have come here things have worked out well from the start.

"A manager that I knew [Sam Allardyce] got the job at this club and invited me down to training and having that six-week trial seems a long time ago now. Thankfully for me, that went well.

"Last year, it went great. To be back playing some games was fantastic for me and, in the end, we got the job done and got promoted. This year we have started really well and it's been good.

"Our aim was to finish in the top half and we're on course to do that."

Alongside Big Sam, O'Brien knew a host of his West Ham team-mates from his time at Bolton, including captain Kevin Nolan - helping him to settle and re-establish himself quickly.

"I knew the manager and had played under him, so I knew his way of working and what he wants from his players, so that helped. There were a couple of other people, Kevin especially, who had become a very good friend over the years and him being here helped me to settle in with the other lads."

Signing a new contract continued a bright start to 2013 for O'Brien, who marked his 50th Hammers appearance with the winning goal in the New Year's Day victory over Norwich - his second of the season and third for the club.

"I have got a couple of goals this season, but hopefully that won't be it!"

You might expect one of those goals to be O'Brien's highlight of his time at the Boleyn Ground, but that is not the case.

"I always think back to my first game against Cardiff here [in August 2011]. It was my first game for such a long time at that level in front of the fans at a ground I always loved coming to play at.

"At that time, I had the chance to play for the club and that games means so much to me. Obviously the result wasn't good, but what it meant to me personally was the highlight, I think."

O'Brien was considered to be one of Irish football's top prospects when he left the Irish capital for Bolton at the age of 16 in 2002, making his first-team debut under Sam Allardyce in a Carling Cup tie against Yeovil Town in September 2004.

After a successful loan spell at Sheffield Wednesday, he returned to the Reebok Stadium to make his Premier League debut against Everton in May 2005 and his first start in a UEFA Cup tie with PFC Lokomotiv Plovdiv in September of the same year.

After appearing for his country at Under-21 level, a senior international debut arrived in a 3-0 friendly victory over Sweden in his home city in March 2006. Since then, he has been capped five times by Ireland.

In all, O'Brien made 70 appearances for Bolton Wanderers, including eleven in the UEFA Cup, and 19 more during two loan spells with Sheffield Wednesday. However, that total would have been much higher had he not suffered from a serious knee injury that restricted him to just 12 games over three seasons between 2008 and 2011.

It has been a different story since he joined West Ham in July 2011 following a successful trial. O'Brien made a great contribution to the Hammers' promotion-winning npower Championship campaign, scoring once in 32 league appearances last term.

This season, he has featured predominantly at left-back, scoring two further goals against Stoke City and Norwich as West Ham have made a strong start on their return to the Barclays Premier League.

Now, with a new long-term contract signed, O'Brien will aim to help the Hammers to consolidate their place in the top-flight.

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