Paul: No Excuses

Paul Goddard insists that the appointment of a new manager by Sunderland must not hinder West Ham's performance when the teams meet in just over a week.

Sunderland, who have appointed Howard Wilkinson as their new boss, are looking for an instant response from their players, and Paul says:

"A change of manager means that instead of it being 30,000 in the Stadium of Light it will be a full house now, whatever, and it certainly doesn't make our task any easier.

"But we have got to be focused on what we have to do and go up there with a plan to get something out of the game.

"I am sure that when the match comes we will be ready.

"We are working on a good fitness base and it is the chance for John McCarthy to put some strength into the players.

"And we are obviously working on the basic defensive side of things; we are also working to put a bit of belief back in the lads.

"A lot of people are off in different directions at the moment and we will all be coming back together next week.

"But everyone is disappointed by the Birmingham game, especially when it came after the two results we had got previous to that.

"Another win against Birmingham would have got us rolling - but we have to regroup for two tough away games now - and we have to get something out of both of them."