J Fired Up

Jermain Defoe is looking forward to returning to the Valley for the first game of 2003 - and says the terrace taunts will spur him on.

Some Addicks' fans have not forgiven him for exercising his right to move across the Thames to Upton Park as a youngster and, of course, Charlton were awarded a tribunal-fixed seven figure fee by way of compensation - unlike, for example, in the case of Kieran Richardson who opted to move from Upton Park to Manchester United as a youngster and has broken through into their first team.

Jermain is hoping that if another eight goal thriller ensues - last season's fixture was a 4-4 draw - more of the goals end up being scored by the Hammers.

Jermain, who has made a habit of scoring against Charlton at various levels, scored one goal - with Paul Kitson scoring his entire quota for the campaign by way of a hat trick.

"I enjoyed that game against my old team; they don't like me down there but if we go there and get a win it will be good," he says.

"The stick doesn't bother me one bit; any player will tell you when you are getting a little bit of that you must be doing something right."

Jermain was, of course, back on the score sheet on Saturday, but he admits:

"It would have been better if it was the winner; obviously it is nice to score but it doesn't mean that much really - if it had won the match I would have felt a lot better and it would have been a lot different.

"I think we deserved to win; watching from the bench I thought we battered them in the second half and were the better side.

"We created chances and could have, probably should have, been 2-1 or 3-1 up in the second half.

"We are making the chances, now all we have to do is take them."

Jermain remains philosophical about being dropped to the bench at Ewood Park, and he says:

"I have to just get on with it; there is no point getting my head down because I knew I was going to get on at some point in the game, and if I was down I wouldn't have been in the right frame of mind when I did get out there.

"I just stayed focused watching the game, and it was good to score.

"I have always said even if I am not scoring I am going to try and get in positions and keep working hard for the team.

"Hopefully now I have scored things will change for me and we will get a few wins.

"I did it against Chelsea then went on a run but at the end of the day I will keep on working hard - and the most important thing is we win games."

Jermain is under no illusions about the predicament the Hammers are in and he adds:

"It is serious; for me and all the youngsters it is something new and obviously it is only my second season.

"But you try not to think about it too much and take each game as it comes.

"If you think sit down and think about 'what would happen if we went down?' too hard it would be depressing.

"You have to just get on with it and whatever happens, happens - all we can do is give it our best.

"But we have good enough players to stay up - and I can't see why we won't."