Carrick's Hope

Michael Carrick is hoping the home form can continue to be improved against Leeds United this weekend.

He suggests that the win over Derby last week can be the springboard to making the home results look more respectable in the final two games at Upton Park.

West Ham's home form shows just one victory and one draw from the last six played.

And Leeds' away form this season has been superb.

Two wins in the final two games would mean that the Hammers will have won one game more - seven - at home than they have lost.

The memory of the Derby game, albeit punctuated by the defeat on his home territory of Newcastle just two days later, is a pleasurable one for Michael, who says:

"It's been a long time since we won a game and could sit back and enjoy it after going three up.

"We came out of the traps well against Derby and after we went two up the confidence came; we started knocking it about.

"Then we got the third and that settled it really - all we had to do was keep our shape and make sure it was tight at the back.

"It came at the right time for us because that was a massive game for us.

"Hopefully we can push on up the table in these remaining games, and I think the Derby game made us safe.

"We've played better than against Derby and maybe not won, though - that's the way things go."

He insists it has not been a bad season - but also that the less enjoyable experiences more recently have made him stronger.

"Everything has gone so well all season but once we got knocked out of the FA cup it hasn't gone so well," he says.

And, like fellow midfielder Joe Cole, he says he can draw strength from the bad times as well of the good.

"It's been an experience, and it's good to have it early on - if it happens again I'll know how to deal with it," he insists.

"You just take everything on board and learn from it; that's what I've been doing all season."

And he says media criticism will not affect him: "You lose a game and suddenly you become a bad player: I've learnt that already.

"But you have to put these things out of your mind and get on with the game.

"You've got to have belief in your own ability otherwise every time you give the ball away your head will drop and you'll not be able to perform.

"Hopefully I'm slowly slowly getting there."

And for the remaining games of the campaign?

"Just to get as many points as we can now and kick on up the table, which would be nice."

Harry Redknapp is hoping to end the game with 11 players at the weekend; four Hammers have been sent off in the last two West Ham v Leeds games.

by Khris Raistrick