Steve Optimistic

Steve Lomas is gearing up to starting his season against West Bromwich Albion insisting the Hammers are at the wrong end of the table.

With one point on the board and a match less played, along with Fulham, than other Premiership sides, the side find themselves in much the same predicament as at the start of last season.

But Steve says there is no cause for alarm and explains:

"There is a sense of optimism for the new season although it will be a tough one; the top five or six are going to be up there and the rest are battling to get into that.

"It will depend, for us, on numerous factors such as keeping all the players fit and getting on a roll.

"We need to keep our home performances up and improve away from home as well.

"We have been floating around that top six a couple of times since I have been here and finished fifth once.

"We were unlucky not to qualify directly for the UEFA cup but that for me the top of the league is the place to be - it is much easier playing there than at the bottom."

He saw the point gained against Arsenal as an indication that the disappointment of the first match of the season was just a blip.

"The lads were a little bit low after the Newcastle game but the Arsenal match was a great way to bounce back and nearly win against the odds to prove that Newcastle was just a bad night," he insists.

"We certainly took the game to the Gunners a lot of the time and when you are disappointed with a draw just shows what a great performance the lads put in; but it was a fabulous match and I don't think anyone could have asked for more effort.

"The spot kick save made a difference and gave Arsenal that extra impetus to go on and get the point.

"If we had won it would have put three points on the board, but it was still a good point and we've got to add to that against Charlton.

"Some people were thinking that it would be an away win banker but in that respect the pressure was off and the lads went in and put on a performance to improve on the Newcastle game where there were individual errors that cost goals.

"We were cutting those out towards the end of last season and that is why we were staying in games longer - Tottenham was a prime example where we conceded with 25 minutes to go but stayed in the game and Pearcey scored a great goal.

"If you go 1-0 down you have to accept that can happen, but the next goal is crucial and if you concede it you are beaten more times than not.

"You need to stay in it and maybe nick the game; it will not always happen but once you go to two or three the game is over.

"The away form is something we want to improve on, and we need to banish the Newcastle performance in the away games that are coming up to test us."

As for his troublesome shin injury, he says:

"I had a couple of cortisones injected into the spot on the shin that was sore, then a week of total rest.

"I have gradually built things up and there has been no reaction, so it is a matter of building up.

"It has been a bit of a curse on me in the past year or so with things happening that I never expected.

"I looked after myself in the summer and took my little brother away to chill out in America, taking it easy to make sure my body was right for next season, but that hampered me because I was doing a lot of walking in Disneyland and we think that is the reason why the shin flared up.

"On my right side the knee is a little bit slacker than my left and with the walking round the parks the movement made the shin get inflamed.

"On top of that, the preseason was intense with three sessions a day and then it flared up after the Leyton Orient game to the extent that I had to stop training because the pain is too much.

"I thought I was doing the right thing going away with my family and taking things easy, not playing much golf but having a good rest for the start of the season.

"It settled down for a while then flared up again - so it has been a bit of a bugger really!

"I won't quite be ready, I don't think, for the Charlton game but overall everything is looking very good at the moment.

"It is mainly a case of catching up on my fitness now and it might take a little while to be 100% - but I will get there."