Defoe Ready And Willing

Jermain Defoe makes his sixth start for the Hammers at the weekend - hoping to outgun Michael Owen.

Owen is looking for his 100th Liverpool goal, while Jermain is looking for his sixth strike in a Hammers shirt.

"I've always admired Michael - he is such a great striker, so prolific, and I look up to players like that," says Jermain.

"It is such a big game for us; we played really well at their place on the first day of the season with Michael scoring both goals.

"It is all about hard work; if everyone puts all the work in we can get something out of it."

The combination of Jermain alongside Fredi Kanoute in attack is, of course, a result of Paolo Di Canio's suspension for five bookings but it is one that many observers have been looking forward to.

"Hopefully we can gel together on Saturday against one of the best sides in the league," says Jermain.

"I'm confident we can get a result, I'm looking forward to it, and I'm sure the rest of the lads are."

He should also get the chance to examine Nicolas Anelka at close quarters, and adds: "Anelka is a great player and I'm looking forward to seeing him."

Three of Jermain's league goals for West Ham have come as a substitute, including his late goal against Derby to seal a 4-0 win.

He says: "It was nice to get on the pitch; to be honest we were always the better side but in those games it is always difficult to get the first goal and in the first half they played quite well.

"But we played really well and even at 3-0 up the lads were working really hard and I came on to see if I could get on the score sheet.

"With my first chance I didn't quite get it because I was a little bit stiff having just come on but I was glad to see the second go in.

"It was just a little ricochet and I got the toe poke, but they all count.

"In the first few games of the season we just couldn't score but now it has all changed and we are scoring goals."

Jermain has also scored two goals from five starts - and he admits he finds it easier to play the full 90 minutes, explaining: "It is hard coming on as sub because it takes time to get into the pace of the game, but hopefully if I do start I'm looking forward to it tomorrow."

Jermain started against Leicester in the absence of Fredi, who was recovering from a thigh strain, and he says: "At Leicester it was a really difficult game but we still got a point; we should have got the ball down, passed it, and been patient when they were down to 10 men."

Meanwhile, giving his view on the great diving debate that saw Paolo Di Canio get his fifth booking of the season against Arsenal - hence his weekend ban - and his friend Benito Carbone getting the first of two yellow cards for Derby on Boxing Day, Jermain says: "All players are different but once I get in the box all I want to do is score. I'm not looking to dive - and I haven't been booked this season."