Steve On Sacrifice

Steve Lomas says he will continue to put professionalism before personal feelings for West Ham's cause.

Steve has been playing on the right of midfield in the absence of Lee Bowyer through suspension, and has also played at right back this campaign before the emergence of Glen Johnson in that position.

With Michael Carrick likely to win his battle against a groin strain this weekend, and Lee coming back, it could be that Steve will start the game from the bench at St. Mary's.

While not playing in his preferred position of central midfield at the moment, he says:

"Obviously I have had to do that this season and others, and, while it is not ideal for me, it is not about me right now - like I have said all along it is about the team getting enough points to stay up.

"The manager is paid to make the decisions so we will have to wait and see."

Of the recent revival which earned Glenn Roeder the Manager of the Month accolade - one that Gordon Strachan got in January before his side slumped to just two wins in nine games - he says:

"I think one of the things I have noticed recently is that the team is working harder off the ball.

"You can't expect it just to happen in the Premiership; other teams might not have as much talent but they work that extra bit harder to stop teams playing.

"You can look at Everton and Southampton; obviously they have got good talent but the main reason they are playing so well is because they have been organised and worked extremely hard as a team.

"We have to get a result at the weekend to keep the confidence up - it is a tough order but it is not beyond us.

"To win four would probably make us safe but in only seven games that would be unbelievable form."

Steve is delighted there is a full squad to choose from and adds:

"That has been the problem all season that there hasn't been enough competition - or enough players, full stop, especially in key areas.

"Midfield has been pretty competitive all season but up front has been the main place where we have had a lot of people out at the same time."

One of Glenn's big decisions is whether to partner Jermain Defoe with Les Ferdinand or Fredi Kanoute this weekend and Steve adds:

"Jermain isn't going to lead the line - he needs to play off someone and I think that will be the case throughout his career.

"He needs a big striker alongside him, possibly in the James Beattie mould and there is no doubt that big Les has given us a presence up front.

"He has taken a lot of toll from Jermain and he can be the outlet for the boys at the back, and J can work of him as Les holds it up so well.

"Jermain can hold the ball up but it is better he uses his energy to be a 'fox in the box'.

"It is great to have Fredi back and I thought he looked very quick when he came on against Sunderland; he is not a bad asset with Les softening them up and Fredi coming on with his pace in the last third of the game - but it is up to the manager what he wants to do."

West Ham face a notable absentee from the last England squad, James Beattie, and Steve comments:

"A lot of people are making something out of the fact that Beattie was not in the England squad so he will be wanting to prove a thing or two.

"He was probably a bit unlucky with the goals he has scored this season not to be in the side, though after the win over Turkey you could say it was the right decision.

"But if he keeps scoring, hopefully not on Saturday, I think he will get back in there.

"It won't be easy; they are a hard, workmanlike team, like Everton, and you could probably say they have overachieved this season.

"It is another tough game coming up and obviously they are going to be pretty hard to beat as they have been all season at St. Mary's."

Beattie scored the winner at Upton Park earlier in the season and Steve remembers:

"It has been like many a game at home, dropping points unnecessarily."

Steve is back from international duty having played for Northern Ireland in a defeat at Armenia [1-0] and at home to Greece [0-2].

"Obviously the Greece game was disappointing but I thought we played very well against Armenia," he says.

"We were very unlucky after creating five or six chances and if we had had more clinical finishing we would have run out easy winners."

Does the attitude have to change when swapping the relegation dogfight for international football?

"Not really; at the end of the day it is just a football game, 11 v 11, and you try and do your best - there is no real difference," he says.