Stewart Downing is looking forward to having a fully-fit Andy Carroll to supply over the second half of the season.

Downing expected to be setting up goals for his former Liverpool teammate right from the off after arriving from Anfield in the summer, although Carroll's foot injury meant he has only just returned to the first team.

Now, as the Hammers prepare to travel to Chelsea on Wednesday, Downing wants to make up for lost time.

Stewart, coming from Liverpool in the summer, with West Ham having finished tenth last season, you probably had expectations of kicking on a little bit. How have you found your first few months here?

SD: "They've been enjoyable, it's a great Club and the manager and players have made me feel very welcome. I settled in quite quickly on that side of things, although results have obviously been difficult. People have been injured and that hasn't helped, but we're starting to get players back now and I think we can have a strong second half of the season."

Obviously the injuries haven't helped, but what have been all those different ingredients which haven't quite worked out so far this season?

SD: "I think we've played well in a lot of games without killing teams off at important times - we've been leading but ended up losing games late on and that's been the story of our season really. It's been disappointing in that regard, we should have been aiming higher than the tenth we came last year, but there's still a long way to go. Everyone's interchanging positions down at the bottom at the minute in the league and I'm confident that we can get up the table with a few good results."

When you signed here you must have thought 'I'm going to be on the wing with Andy Carroll in the middle, and that's going to be fun'. You've been robbed of that opportunity so far - how frustrating has that been for you and Matt Jarvis?

SD: "It has been frustrating, more for Andy as he's not been playing games. Matt Jarvis and myself have been getting games, but Andy is a big part of how we play [as a team] so it's nice that he's back fit. Hopefully he can stay fit until the end of the season, he can get a run of games and we can get a partnership going. We need him to fire for us to get where we want to be."

What's Big Sam been like during this difficult time?

SD: "He's good around the players day-to-day. Sometimes you can be a bit flat after a disappointing resutl, but he's good at lifting you. He tells you what needs to be told when you've been disappointing, but also when you do well he'll put his arm around you. He's good like that - a good man manager. It's probably been difficult for him, not being able to get his strongest team out on to the field all season, but he's looking at the bigger picture, that players are coming back now. I'm sure he's looking forward to that."

He's happy to have signed a couple of Italy internationals this week and that's given him a spring in his step. What are your early impressions of them?

SD: "They trained very well on their first day, with some nice touches. They have good pedigree, and I'm sure the manager's had them watched and knows that they can bring something to our squad. We need the players in because we've been a little light, and once we've got everyone back fit, and with these lads added too, we've got a decent squad."

You've got a big game away against Chelsea next. Probably from the outside people won't be giving you too much of a chance, but the Premier League this season has been extraordinary. Does the fact that there have been so many strange results give you heart?

SD: "It does. Chelsea are obviously a really good team and are very good at home, but why can't we go there and upset it? We did that at Tottenham and we have no doubt that we can go there and do it again. We have a strong team and we can cause Chelsea problems. We just have to stay in the game and keep it tight for long periods."

What will be the key? Will it be a strong defensive base, now you are getting some of the defenders back fit?

SD: "We have been missing Winston Reid for a while, and both James Tomkins and James Collins at times too. They are starting players in the team, so it has been difficult on that one, but if we play like we did in the first 15 or 20 minutes at home against them [we'll have a chance]. We conceded a sloppy goal, but apart from that it was even and we could have taken the lead with a couple of the chances we had. That's what you have to do at Chelsea - if you have a chance you have to put it away."

Do you think back to those games against Tottenham when obviously you got fantastic results and do you draw confidence from those?

SD: "You have to. If you don't go to teams like Chelsea, Man United and Man City in confident mood, you can lose by big scorelines. We went to Tottenham with everyone [on the outside] expecting Tottenham to win on the day, but we outplayed them. We won 3-0 and it could probably have been five or six. There's no reason why we can't go to Chelsea and get a result, we proved it in the past when we beat them 3-1 at home last season."

Is there the point of view that you get through the Chelsea game, be as solid as you can, and then really focus on the likes of Swansea, Norwich and Villa, who are the teams around you?

SD: "The manager will take it game-by-game. He won't say 'we can win this game, but not that one', you can't do that in this league. Football's a funny game, you have to take it one-by-one, starting with Chelsea on Wednesday night and start building confidence to take into the games that follow."

The bottom half of the Premier League is so tight this season. What do you think when you look at it as players?

SD: "I think we draw a bit of confidence from it, because if you win one or two games you can put yourself up into mid-table, which is unbelievable really. We've got some big games coming up, at home as well, and we need to start performing there. We're confident that we can get the results and kick on to get us up that league."

You're still looking for your first West Ham goal. Is that something you're actively seeking, or are you sitting back and thinking I'm happy creating?

SD: "Obviously I'm happy creating as long as the team are winning. It is nice to chip in with goals and I would like to get a few. I've had a couple disallowed so I've been unlucky, but I'll keep on cracking on, getting into positions and the goals will come. The big thing at the minute for us is just results."