Goddard Guarded

Paul Goddard insists it would be foolish to write off Manchester United for the Premiership title.

The general estimation in top flight football is that if you lose six games your chances of winning the Championship fade, and a win for the Hammers at Old Trafford this weekend would see the current holders reach that depressing half a dozen mark.

However, Paul thinks Sir Alex Ferguson's men will be all the more dangerous after their recent league defeats, and says: "It is the toughest game and all the more so because of what has been going on with them recently.

"They are good professionals and their pride will be hurt - it is going to be one real tough game on Saturday."

Paul does not subscribe to the 'six defeats and you're out' theory, insisting: "It could be a different year - Chelsea lost in the week, Leeds are drawing lots of games, and I think there is going to be a battle for the title this year.

"I certainly wouldn't rule Manchester United out yet."

But there will be no fear from the Hammers, and Paul says: "We will approach it positively; you can see the way Chelsea went about it last weekend and they certainly got at Manchester United when they could but we must defend well.

"At Sunderland on Saturday and in the second half against Villa we have defended soundly."

*There are still a handful of tickets for tomorrow's match at Old Trafford, available from the ticket office. Please call 020 8548 2700 for more details.