Moncs In The Mood

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With young midfield star Michael Carrick sidelined through injury, veteran crowd favourite John Moncur has been handed a chance to impress - and is determined to grab his opportunity with both hands.

The 35-year-old was called up by Glenn Roeder for the trips to Leeds United and Macclesfield in recent weeks and, although neither outing ended in personal triumph, he is hoping to play an influential part in the Hammers' first home game of the new year, against Leicester City on Saturday.

The clash will see him come face to face with his old sparring partner Dennis Wise, and John is looking forward to a tough battle against the relegation fighters.

"I've been playing against Dennis since I was 11, so I know what he is all about," laughs John. "I don't worry about who I play against, though, I just try and keep myself fit and concentrate on playing my game.

"It's going to be a hard game and Leicester will be up for a battle. Sometimes, these games can be harder than playing the big teams, because they're fighting for their lives. We need to be 100% on our game to make sure we get a result.

"I've got a bit of an infection from a cut that I picked up on Sunday but hopefully that will clear up with the antibiotics that I'm on and I'll get another chance on Saturday.

"I've been pleased with my performances in the last two games. Obviously it didn't go too well against Leeds, result-wise, and then I got the red card against Macclesfield, which I thought was harsh."

While many agree that Moncs was hard done by at Moss Rose, after collecting not only two yellow cards but also a headbutt for his troubles, the former Tottenham and Swindon midfielder admits that he has accepted the outcome.

"At the end of the day, that's football and you can't do anything about a referee's decision, but I did feel it was a bit unfair. I don't know if the club are thinking of appealing, but it is only a one-match ban because it was two yellow cards.

"I must admit, I haven't ever been best of friends with that referee and when I looked at it again on the video, I just laughed. I've never seen anyone get booked twice for one incident, but that was just the way it went.

"It's clear that the fella has nutted me but I wasn't bothered about that. I could have fallen on the floor and rolled about to get him sent off but that kind of thing isn't me.

The most disappointing thing about it is that I am going to miss another game - at Chelsea I think. I don't need it at this stage of my career and hopefully there won't be any more bother this season."

In fact, all John is hoping for now is a run in the team to prove that his future can still be with the Hammers in the Premiership.

"I just want to play as many games as I can and prove that I can still do a job for a team. Hopefully, if I can stay fit and keep out of trouble, it will work out okay for me."