Robbo Looks Ahead

Former Hammer Mark Robson says he can't wait for the visit of West Ham to Charlton Athletic on Monday night.

Mark, now on the coaching staff at the Valley, says: "I am looking forward to the game against my old club and the team I supported as a kid so there will be mixed loyalty.

"I am enjoying it very much at Charlton, it is an excellent club to work for, and I am getting good experience looking after the under-19s.

"I wanted to get into coaching and I am loving every minute of it."

As for first team matters across the river in SE7, he says: "At the start of the season the manager had a lot of players out which made it difficult, but we did better than anticipated considering the number of injuries we had.

"Now we have got most of our players back we are hopeful for a good showing for the rest of the season."

Much of the summer speculation concerning the then vacant manager's job at Upton Park centred around Charlton boss Alan Curbishley taking over, and Mark says: "When the job became available there was obviously going to be speculation that he was going to be linked with it, and, with respect, when any big job comes up now his name will be mentioned.

"But Charlton are delighted that he is still here - and hopefully to stay."

As for Glenn Roeder, he adds: "I know Glenn; he is a great fellow and I think he will be an excellent manager.

"He can be ruthless when he wants to be and I'm sure he is the right man for the job."

Mark still keeps a fan's eye on events - and results - at Upton Park and he says: "It was a bit of a troubled start, but hopefully the club has turned the corner a little bit.

"I'm sure Glenn would like to bring some players in but I would have thought it's a case of finances."

As for who he perceives to be the Hammers' biggest threat, he says: "I am a big fan of Michael Carrick; I've been watching him fairly closely and I've been very impressed with him and his passing ability.

"I can't wait to see Joe Cole as he has been a big loss since he has not been playing, but I'm sure he will come back soon.

"And there is still the likes of Paolo; there is a lot of talent there."

Another man with strong ties to both clubs is Jermain Defoe, who left Charlton two years ago for a fee that could go up to £1.65m if he goes on to gain a full England cap.

Mark quips: "I'm not allowed to talk about Jermain Defoe!"

But he adds: "Obviously we would have loved to have kept him here, but he is at West Ham now and I'm sure he will be a big future star in the Premiership."

And of the game overall, he says: "Both teams like to try and play football; we certainly do and it has always been a tradition at the Hammers, so I'm looking forward to the game.

"I'm going to have to vote for Charlton but a draw would be a nice result!"