James Looking For A Blank

David James travels to Old Trafford hoping for the first clean sheet of his Hammers career insisting: "I'm looking forward to it".

"I haven't kept a clean sheet in three games which is a bit of a personal torment, obviously, "he admits, "but where we have conceded goals we have continued playing and that is all you can ever ask, because goals are going to be conceded.

"It will be the biggest crowd of the season for us and it is about performing - the opportunity to play in such stadia that you dream of when you are younger is great.

"As kids you want to play against the best players and in the best stadium and, at the moment, Old Trafford arguably provides both.

"People are talking about them having a crisis but it is guaranteed that they will be up for it.

"I'm sure that more than half the clubs in the division would love to be suffering the 'crisis' that they are going through at the moment.

"They are one of the best teams in the Premiership so this gives us the opportunity to use it as a benchmark for the rest of the season.

"It's football, anything could happen, and that is why we love it.

"We will try our best and no one can ask any more of us - and it would be nice to get that clean sheet on Saturday.

"Hopefully we can reproduce the second half form against Villa and then we will have a chance."

For David, there is no reason for doom and gloom, and he adds: "It could be worse - we could be letting loads in without any resistance and without creating any chances.

"Against Sunderland and Aston Villa we have two games where we should, and quite possibly could, have got six points.

"But I am definitely happy and encouraged by the performances anyway and there is no lack of confidence.

"We are creating chances which on another day will go in and had any one of the earlier chances gone in against Villa I'd have fancied us to win the game."

Talking in more detail about the game against his former team-mates on Wednesday, he says: "I thought the lads played very well but obviously the start was one that no one wanted.

"Fair play to Dion because that is the one thing he has always been good at. If you put the ball on his head, he will find the target.

"Unfortunately we allowed him to do that and worse than that he scored - it was a good finish.

"The clearance wasn't the best by me and then it was a good cross, so it wasn't a good start.

"I didn't slip - it just wasn't a particularly good clearance.

"The first half wasn't good, we all know that, but we were tight in the second half.

"I'd like to think that, although the fans are disappointed, they saw that we didn't give up the ghost which - as a team - perhaps we have been guilty of earlier in the season when we have conceded goals and lost games badly.

"John Gregory will be disappointed in the manner in which they conceded, in the last minute, but I think it would be fair to say they would be happier with the draw over 90 minutes than we were.

"Villa were completely outplayed and that is a good sign, and at Sunderland it was particularly encouraging because there were so many potential first teamers out."

As for his opposite number Peter Enckelman's spot kick save from Paolo Di Canio, he says: "I used to score penalties past him!"