Hutch Raring To Go

Don Hutchison says that his season is now up and running - and that he is desperate to start contributing to the first team cause.

The 31-year-old played another full game in the reserves' 1-1 draw against Coventry City at Upton Park on Tuesday evening, and reports no after-effects the following day.

"I feel all right, really fit, the knee is okay, everything is fine after two full reserve games, so I am just looking forward to getting involved in the first team again," he enthuses.

"I would love to be involved on Monday but it is up to the gaffer. He has got enough on his plate, and I am not banging his door down, but I will put myself up for selection.

"We are not having a good time and we are bottom of the league so whatever I can do to help the gaffer I will - I haven't played for him a lot because of the injury so I want to try and give him a hand."

Don, who has twice been West Ham's record signing, insists he has no right to put pressure on Glenn Roeder, but is aware that, with Steve Lomas struggling and Eduoard Cisse suspended, there will be changes to the midfield one way or another.

"It is up to the gaffer what he really wants to do," says Don, "I have trained all week and whatever the gaffer decides on Monday I will be right behind him."

He does admit that with Fredi Kanoute having played 60 minutes of a comeback game in the same reserve game, there is the option of playing Paolo Di Canio in a deeper role if the French striker does return to the starting line up and Jermain Defoe keeps his place.

"He can always play Paolo on the left or the right," says Don, "but I am keeping my fingers crossed that I will be in - if I am not I am quite happy being a sub, really."

Don, who sustained his cruciate knee ligament injury in the victory over Middlesbrough in late February - Fredi was the scorer in a 1-0 win, incidentally - knows the importance of getting the first home win of the season against Southampton on Monday.

"It would be nice to get it on the TV and play well also, but I think the boys would settle for a scrappy win," he says.

"We are creating chances but we have got to start winning games. It will be no good if we go down and then say 'we had a good season because we played well and created chances' - that is no good to anyone, so I think at the minute with the home form and the crowd the way they are we are just desperate to get a win."

Don says it is up to the players to justify their reputations and adds: "Even last year, when we finished seventh, it was still a good achievement, but with the team that we had it was under achieving and it is a worry for everyone now.

"We should be a top six side, but we are not - and we need to produce, otherwise we don't deserve it.

"There are teams out there with good squads that have to be beaten so it is going to be a hard season - but I am ready for it."