Nigel's Target

Nigel Winterburn reckons that two more wins should allow West Ham to start looking up the table.

He is determined to help the side get a good result against Manchester United at the weekend, and says:

"At the moment it is very important because there are a lot of teams scrapping away for points, and if you lose two or three games, before you know it you bare in the bottom four, and you don't want to be down there with four or five games left, that's for sure.

"I think if you look to get to 43 points and then see where you finish up in the league - I'd be very surprised if that wasn't enough to keep away from the bottom."

The Red Devils come to town hoping to upset David James' record of not having conceded a home league goal since Michael Owen scored for Liverpool in December, and Nigel acknowledges the home form is under pressure.

"We don't want to be looking at the teams just below us every week, thinking we have got to win at home to keep away from the bottom three," he says.

"It is important to pick up a couple of good results away from home."

A third 1-0 home win in a row would not go amiss, though one might expect more entertaining fare from Saturday's visitors than Middlesbrough and Everton provided.

"It was another very difficult game for us against Everton," says Nigel, "and, like Middlesbrough, we just had to work so hard; it was a lucky goal in the end that broke them down.

"But it is about time we had a little bit of luck; especially away from home where we have been giving silly goals away, so it was nice to get a, not flukey, but 'different' goal, let's say.

"The win gave us a big lift again; obviously our home form is fantastic, probably amongst the best in the league, but now we have to put the away form right, because if we do, we could be well up the league.

"Players have had to come in and play different positions; it has been difficult because we have got such a small squad.

"Every game you have got to keep looking forward; it will be a difficult game against Manchester United but we have given ourselves a platform to move on again - and hopefully we will."

As for the Villa game, he says:

"We conceded a goal in the last 20 seconds and it is unprofessional; we had the ball on the half way line and lost possession.

"People might say it was only a point, but when you work so hard for 90 minutes and throw it away like that it makes it even harder."

Nigel is certainly relishing the run-in before he decides what his next step in football will be, and he says:

"I'm enjoying all the games, though Everton probably wasn't a fantastic game to watch - we knew it would be hard but we got the right result."

There is still no rearranged date for what would have been the next game after Manchester United, the fixture against Arsenal at Highbury, but Nigel is keeping an eye on developments at his former club and their battle with United.

"They talk about it being a better squad and better players than the one that won the double," he says, "but it is irrelevant because it is all about the present.

"They certainly have the potential and I think it would be very disappointing for them if they didn't win something this year."