Nigel Likely To Leave

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Nigel Winterburn says it is "90% certain" that he will leave the Hammers this summer.

Although it is not a definitive decision, he has had discussions with Glenn Roeder about it both before and since the moves to bring Vladimir Labant to the club took place and he admits: "I have spoken to Glenn and I understand the situation, which is really quite clear. I am 38 playing in the Premiership and delighted with that.

"But my time is moving towards its end and I think Glenn felt that he needed to bring someone in to fill that position.

"I don't know if that will be straight away or whether it will be towards the end of the season or next season.

"Also, it is competition for places - and I will give him some competition as long as I can.

"I'm 90% certain that I'll be leaving at the end of the season but while I'm at the club hopefully I can hold that position down.

"I have always said that I would like to be remembered for the good things and I Glenn and I are quite open about it.

"I think next season he will be looking to go into a different direction but while I'm at West Ham I can assure everyone that I will give 100% because that is what I'm all about.

"I'd love to stay and play for another season but I'm not sure whether at this stage it is realistic so I think it is fair that I should just concentrate for the rest of this season and hopefully I'll be in the team and then we will look at the situation from there."

Fellow veteran Stuart Pearce dropped down a division to Manchester City last summer, but it remains to be seen whether Nigel will follow that path, and he adds: "Stuart Pearce was at the same sort of stage of his career that I am now and he felt he could compete at that level, recovery-wise.

"You push it to the limit for as long as you can but eventually you have to say 'that's enough, I can't cope any more'.

"I'm feeling okay during the game at the moment but after the game I'm absolutely shattered.

"I want to still do myself justice and don't want to take it too far, but I want to give it everything for the rest of this season, and then whatever happens at the end of it will happen.

"The young kids have probably already recovered from the Christmas programme and I'm still trying to!

"That is the main difference when you get to my age. It is not the games, but the recovery after, and we have just had five games in two weeks, which has near enough wiped me out!"

Nigel sees the imminent signing of Vladimir as just another part of a massive rebuilding process, and he adds: "I think Vladimir can play in a number of positions and our squad is very very small - we don't just need one player coming in, we need about four or five.

"We have needed players since the start of the season, and we have got four or five players who are out of contract this summer; so realistically we probably need about four more players now and if all those players were to leave who are out of contract, that's another four.

"So you are looking really at eight players, and for a club like West Ham to bring in that amount I would think at the present time is impossible.

"To be fair to Glenn, he is doing a fantastic job, he knows the type of players he wants to bring to the club, and I think a lot of people now can see what he is trying to produce.

"He hasn't got a lot of money but if they stick with him next season as well as this I think he can prove a lot of people wrong."

As for the weekend action, he adds: "Leicester are bottom of the league and looking for points, they will be fighting really hard and I don't expect it to be a classic game by any means but we want three points and hopefully at home we can secure that.

"Just because a team is bottom of the league everyone thinks automatically you are going to win, but this year the Premiership has shown that any team on their day is capable of beating anyone else.

"We are certainly taking the game very seriously, we won't be underestimating Leicester at all, and we want a really good performance after our excellent win in the FA Cup.

"What we have managed to do over the last month is lift ourselves from the relegation area up into mid table but now we need a couple of wins quickly to cement the position we are in."

And of the win over Macclesfield in the FA Cup, and subsequent draw away to Chelsea or Norwich in the fourth round, he concludes: "When you are playing a team like that it is their FA Cup final, their one chance to beat a Premiership team, and we knew it was going to be a hard game.

"For the first 45 minutes it was very difficult but we got the goal at the right time. In the second half our passing and superior fitness told and I think we really controlled the game.

"Since I have been at the club all we seem to do is play good teams away from home in the cup - but hopefully we can carry on a good run."