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2014-08-13T06:00:00 Updated 2015-02-18T21:19:50

The Big Interview - Winston Reid

After seven weeks of hard pre-season graft, West Ham United defender Winston Reid cannot wait for the Barclays Premier League campaign to start this weekend.

The Hammers begin with a mouthwatering London derby duel against Tottenham Hotspur at the Boleyn Ground, with Sam Allardyce's men keen for a fourth straight win over the north Londoners.

Reid played a pivotal role in West Ham's successes over Spurs last year, opening the scoring in the 3-0 win at White Hart Lane last October. caught up with the centre half to chat Spurs, pre-season and the summer trip to his homeland.

Winston, it all gets underway for real this Saturday against Tottenham. That fixture must bring back special memories both for you and the team from last year?

WR: "Obviously we did really well against them last year. Hopefully we can continue that when they come to the Boleyn Ground on Saturday. We're going to give it our best shot and see what happens."

You got on the scoresheet there last year and you've made a habit of scoring against a lot of our London rivals!

WR: "I'll be happy if we don't concede at the other end. They're a good side and last year we did really well against them but I'm sure they'll give us a difficult task this year. They've got a good squad, with some big players and as I said before we'll give it our best shot."

It's funny the way it's worked out - we played them in the last home game of last season and the first of this - do you expect them to give a lot tougher test this time around?

WR: "You don't really know. They've brought in a new manager and might change their play a little bit, so we'll just have to wait and see. It's the first game of the season and everyone's going to be up for it. We've all been looking forward to this ever since the last game finished and we've been working hard over pre-season to get fit."

When you look at their strikers, the likes of Adebayor and Soldado with their firepower, are these the kind of games you look forward to?

WR: "There are a lot of good quality players in this league so you get tested all the time. This game will be no different."

From the supporters' point of view there's no better game to start with than this. The atmosphere should be cracking on Saturday.

WR: "It means a lot to the supporters. We're rival teams and it's a derby so I'm sure they'll be looking forward to the match."

You mentioned the hard work over pre-season - are you feeling fit and ready to go now?

WR: "I think so. We've been improving gradually over the games we've played. We finished with a win on Saturday, and it was important to get that under our belts before the first game of the season."

Is that result a boost for us?

WR: "It was good for the players. We hadn't won in 90 minutes over pre-season so it was nice to end that. It's not the main thing of course, we're trying to perform, avoid injuries and get minutes under our belts."

Earlier in pre-season we had the chance to spread the West Ham word with a trip to your home country. How much did you enjoy that?

WR: "I very much enjoyed it. Not so much the results, but apart from that it was good. The people were very friendly and they were always going to be like that, and the organisation was really good as well. For me, to go back was nice personally as well."

Did the level of support for the Club take you by surprise out there?

WR: "Not really. They follow the Premier League a lot over there and are very keen on it. It just shows how big the Club is and how popular the league is over there."

You've had the chance to settle in with some new defenders in the backline this summer. How is that shaping up do you think?

WR: "I think everything's shaping up well for all the new players who have come in. We're improving and getting to know each other more and more so things are looking bright."

For you personally, your season was disrupted by injury last year, so how helpful has a full pre-season been?

WR: "Touch wood you don't get those sort of injuries again. You want to go out there and play week in week out and train every day, but if you get an injury as a footballer there's not really a lot you can do about it."

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