Joey O'Brien enjoyed his 45-minute run out during Saturday's 2-0 win at AFC Bournemouth as his pre-season preparations stepped up a gear.

The Republic of Ireland international was given his first taste of pre-season match action when he came on as a half-time substitute for Guy Demel and was quickly back into the swing of things with some no-nonsense defending. Fans favourite O'Brien is now looking to make it two appearances in the space of four days when the Hammers visit Colchester United on Tuesday evening.

"It was good to get a run out," O'Brien said. "I've been training hard the past few weeks so it was nice to get the run out and get some minutes under my belt.

"It's been a gradual build up for me. I've been training hard but I just didn't feature in the first two games. I started on Saturday with my first 45 minutes and hopefully I'll get some more on Tuesday night. It's going cool."

Saturday's test at Dean Court was anything but cool, however, as the south of England basked in one of the hottest days of the year to date. While Sam Allardyce may have planned for some warm-weather training during the Germany trip that starts on Wednesday, O'Brien believes the early introduction to sweltering conditions has done them the world of good.

"It's not like that every Saturday in the Premier League but I think it's good to play in those conditions every now and again. The second half wasn't too bad as there were so many substitutions.

"Overall though, the pre-season has gone really well. The trip to Ireland was great and we had a good game against Cork. We've got Colchester on Tuesday and then we head to Germany. It'll be tough over there."

Colchester provide the Hammers' penultimate examination on home soil before the start of the season, with Champions League qualifiers Pacos de Ferreira providing a stern test at the Boleyn Ground on 10 August, a week before the big Barclays Premier League kick-off. A tough assignment of three games awaits in Germany before then, however, and O'Brien knows it is important the players seize the opportunity to increase their sharpness and bond further as a group ahead of the visit of Cardiff City on 17 August.

"In Germany, we'll be looking to step it up again, get more time on the pitch and take our fitness up to the next level.

"The new guys have settled in well and we've got a great bunch of guys in the dressing room. Whenever a new player comes in they're made to feel welcome so things are looking good for the new season."

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