Paul's Preview

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Paul Goddard is looking for the Hammers to go and win a second away game on the trot - and once more avoid a London neighbour doing the 'double' on the club.

Like Fulham, Spurs won at Upton Park earlier in the season - the only teams to do so in the league until Manchester United rode into town recently.

"If you look back at that game earlier in the season we caught them when they were on a real rich vein of form, and we did have a number of injuries on the day as well; we didn't do particularly well, but we hope to do better this weekend.

"The key to the game is to defend set pieces and the aerial threat; Tottenham have got a lot of big experienced players who are good at ghosting in on the blind side and scoring off free kicks and corners - and in open play as well.

"But I think it is very important we play our football going forward; if we can do that like we have been doing, I'm sure we can create chances - and hopefully take some."

He knows that, to some fans, there is a little more than three points at stake when it comes to a trip to White Hart Lane.

"I can appreciate that," he says, "I remember playing in these games myself and they have that bit of extra spice to them."

West Ham go into the game on the back of three successive victories, and Paul adds:

"Winning away keeps the thing ticking over; our record at home is fantastic - the second best in the league, is it? - but we have let ourselves down away and getting the win at Fulham has just kept it ticking - we are all pretty determined to try and keep that run going.

"It's great to win football matches and it makes everything you are working for seem worthwhile; we had a good Easter followed by a good result against Charlton at the weekend.

"We felt all the way through the season that we have got ourselves in a position to stretch on and get nearer the top than the bottom and we have always let ourselves down.

"This time we have managed to kick on, just create a little bit of a gap, and we realise that if we could have been just a little bit better we could have been there or thereabouts with a real good shout for Europe.

"We are just enjoying it at the moment and that is obviously testament to winning football matches, but Saturday is obviously a big game."

Keeping up the pressure on seventh spot, and staying above the likes of Aston Villa, who have spent a lot more money than West Ham, would, concedes Paul, be a worthy achievement.

"I think so," he says, "and we are quietly pleased with the way it has gone recently, but we will take stock at the end of the season and say we are this or that, as we still want to progress from here."

The absence of Paolo Di Canio means almost certainly that Jermain Defoe will start, but Paul says:

"Everyone assumes that, don't they? We have been working on a few things in training and people will have to wait and see on Saturday!"

And the man who makes way for him through injury, Paolo Di Canio, has been the subject of a fair few column inches of late.

On that subject, Paul says:

"Paolo has been inspirational recently; he attracts loads of press attention and the press love him for that, but on the pitch he has created and scored goals for us - and he is a very special player.

"Over the Easter period he took a lot of criticism regarding the Fulham game, and there were a lot of things said, but Paolo worked himself into the ground for a tactical reason.

"We tried something different tactically and Paolo had worked hard for the team to achieve it; that is why the decision was made to take him off, because of what he had done, and that is the be-all and end-all of it - but it is all in the past now.

"It is unfortunate that he has picked up his injury, but it doesn't look as bad as we first thought, so hopefully he will be back sooner rather than later.

"When the squad isn't very big we sail close to the wind, and this is what we have been doing all season; every team gets injuries - and we have had our fair share."