Goddard's Challenge

Paul Goddard says that he has no qualms about handling the Hammers' high profile stars on the training field - and cannot wait for the season to start.

When asked about whether he feels daunted about working with internationals on a daily basis at the Chadwell Heath training HQ, he says: "Not at all; I've served an apprenticeship at Ipswich you might say, working there with the first team for a year when I first started coaching, and on and off in various aspects in the development of the club in the last four or five years.

"It's a higher level, and I'm enjoying the challenge of working with players of that quality."

Although his own man, Paul admits that former boss John Lyall has had a profound effect on his football philosophy.

"John has been a massive influence on my playing career, as he was manager when I first went to West Ham, then obviously I was with him at Ipswich," he says.

"He is one of the best coaches I have ever worked with, and I have gained a huge amount of experience from him."

Pre-season action begins with games at Purfleet and Bishops Stortford later this week, and Paul explains: "We start the games on Friday, but it's very much a training set up, just the first step.

"We'll try to keep everybody down to a minimum, 45 minutes or something like that, and we'll be in the next day working on fitness and different things."

But it is the Premiership action he is most eagerly anticipating, and he says: "I'm really looking forward to being back at Upton Park although the atmosphere is a little bit different with a big fantastic new stand being built.

"Hopefully the team can perform well in front of them for the rest of the season."

Any adverse reaction to the summer appointments is, he insists, like water off a duck's back to him, and he says: "I'm sure Glenn would emphasize the same point: we are not here to prove critics wrong; you'll always get criticisms of everything you do.

"We are here to work as hard as we can for West Ham United and produce a team that will hopefully win a lot of football matches.

"We also want to play in a good style as well, and if that proves critics wrong then so be it.

"But you've got to have a nice thick skin in this game; of course you've got to listen and take advice from certain people but we're out there for West Ham United, no one else."

Amidst all of the transfer rumours flying around he stresses that there is real determination to bring in some quality - but admits that patience is the key.

"The club has lost some good players in the past year through various circumstances," he says.

"Glenn is working doubly hard to eradicate that; we want top quality players to come here and they are hard to come by.

"But Glenn is trying very hard to make sure it does happen, and we hope it happens before the season starts.

"If not, though, we will get on with it, while carrying on looking at other options.

"All the staff are having constant discussions with Glenn, and we all have our opinions.

"That's what we are there for, to help Glenn, bounce ideas around, and perhaps use our contacts and knowledge of different people we might know to find out more information; that's an ongoing thing."