Alou Diarra is hoping for a clean bill of health in 2013, as he and his West Ham United teammates prepare for this season's third meeting with Manchester United.

Diarra, who joined from Marseille in the summer, endured an injury-plagued beginning to life at the Boleyn Ground but, having started West Ham's last two fixtures, is now intent on kick-starting his Hammers career.

And the France international, who lined up against England at last summer's UEFA European Championship, sees no reason why West Ham cannot spring an FA Cup surprise at Old Trafford.

"It's not going to be easy in Manchester, they're in confident mood, even if they make a few changes. They have strength in depth and a lot of players and can rotate," Diarra admitted.

"For us, it's a question of raising our game in comparison to our performance at Sunderland and start the match just as we did in the home game. It's not an easy game but in the cup anything is possible. We'll have chances at Old Trafford.

"The home tie was a good experience. For me it was my first game back after a long injury, and against Manchester United! It was amazing. This type of game is great for the fans and makes for a good atmosphere at the Boleyn Ground.

"It wasn't easy but I played just over an hour which for a return is pretty good. The fact we managed to draw 2-2 against them proves that there's quality at West Ham. But we've got to make sure we stay the distance this time.

"Danny Welbeck and Wayne Rooney are two very good players of international, world class. I had the opportunity to play against them at the Euros. That means I know them a little bit, I know their quality. They're two very good forwards, both very dangerous, and we'll have to keep an eye on them and not give them any space whatsoever."

Meanwhile, the French midfielder was adamant that West Ham fans have not seen the best of him yet, as he slowly finds his feet again after two-and-a-half months on the sidelines.

"It's obviously not easy to arrive at a new club and be injured for so long. I've worked well with the medical staff here. Now I'm now enjoying getting back to competitive action.

"I think I'll need several matches to get back into a rhythm, like all players coming back from injury. Perhaps even more so in my case, seeing as I didn't start the season. That means I've worked very hard physically, but of course that's no substitute for game time. But I'm sure that the combined physical effect of several games is going to do me a lot of good."

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