Rolling Up The Sleeves

Glenn Roeder insists that, despite their recent form, the Hammers will have a tough battle on their hands against relegation candidates Leicester City at Filbert Street on Saturday.

After two magnificent performances against the might of Manchester United and Arsenal in previous weeks, many would consider a match against the struggling Foxes to be a much more comfortable proposition.

However, the Hammers boss has warned against such complacency and will urge his players to roll up their sleeves and approach the final game before Christmas with determination and a professional attitude.

Says Glenn: "It's a different challenge for us to come through on Saturday. The good thing is that, on the back of the last two performances and results, the players are really looking forward to the games over Christmas.

"There is a lot of optimism but they do know to expect a different kind of football against Leicester. Good teams learn to handle all situations, though, and that is what we must do on Saturday.

"There are no secrets with Leicester, they are very direct and we understand exactly what we have got to deal with."

Hopefully the focus will be more on what Leicester have to deal with, and Roeder is still hoping that striker Fredi Kanoute will have recovered in time to play against the Foxes after being forced off at half-time on Saturday with a twinge in his thigh,while goalkeeper David James is fighting to shake off a cold.

"Fredi has still got a chance," says Glenn. "He didn't train today (Thursday) but we will have a look at him tomorrow and I'm hopeful that he will be involved on Saturday.

"David James has had a heavy cold but he has seen the doctor and I'm assured that he will be fine for Saturday.

"He came in this morning, waited in his car for the doctor because he didn't want to spread any germs, and then went home to rest. I don't think there will be any problem with him on Saturday."

The game will give the Hammers the chance to widen the gap between themselves and the teams struggling at the foot of the league, with Glenn acknowledging the fact that matters are likely to go right to the wire at both ends of the table.

"It's very tight in the middle of the Premiership table at the moment, with seven or eight teams all on the 20-23 point mark.

"It's much more exciting for the fans but it means that we have to concentrate at all times because you can be dragged back into it very quickly.

"Leicester and Derby are fighting for their lives and they won't give up the opportunity of playing Premiership football easily.

"The next four games, all in the space of 10 days, are going to be tough, but we will approach them in a positive mood and hopefully come out of them still feeling confident."