Forget The Hype...

Glenn Roeder insists the hype surrounding the trip to Bolton will not deflect him or his players from the task in hand - and reveals that the players are actually looking forward to the challenge of beating Bolton.

He also says that:

* Home advantage will not count in Bolton's favour this weekend.

* The preparations for the game have not changed this week.

* He has no time for psychological tricks to gain an advantage.

* Bolton's experience in a relegation battle last season while West Ham were flying high will not be to the Hammers' detriment.

Discounting the notion that it will be a 'six-pointer', he smiles:

"It is a three point game because you can't win any more than three points in a game - that is stating the obvious.

"Anyway, I'd rather be playing Bolton because we can do something about the situation; when you hope other teams might help us nothing happens, so it's just as well that it's us going up there this week, because it's in our hands."

Glenn is in buoyant mood going into the game and he explains:

"We have maintained all week when I have sat the players down, and we have had two or three short meetings, that we are going to the Reebok for a win and I think it is important to focus and be as pro-active in the attacking part of the field as we can.

"We can force Bolton onto the back foot, and we are going there with the attitude that we are up there to win the game.

"It goes without saying that the first port of call will be to defend well and we will know we have to do that because they have some exciting, attacking players in their team.

"Hopefully sound defending will give us the spring board and confidence to counter attack quickly because we feel that is probably how the game will pan out."

He insists he is not too disheartened by the draw against Aston Villa on Saturday, adding:

"We have done that well defensively recently with clean sheets against Tottenham and Sunderland and one up at Everton, and only conceding one goal at St. Mary's and restricting Southampton to that one chance.

"So maybe it is to be expected that sooner or later we would have a game where we defended okay for periods of the game but where there were just one or two spells in which we haven't done quite as well as we have done recently.

"We have worked on the defending side of the game this week, we have done a few defending practices and also worked on the attacking half of the field because we are very conscious of the fact that we need to be as pro-active as we can be in and around the Bolton penalty box - and hopefully that work will bear fruit for us on Saturday."

As for the hype, he says:

"I think personally too much is made of so-called 'mind games', too much media attention into hanging on to every word that opposing managers say about the up and coming game.

"It is a fashionable thing and I don't think come kick off time or by the end of the game what either manager has said makes a huge amount of difference.

"I'm not one for getting to carried away; the media will enjoy building this one up of course, but for us it is simply the next game opportunity to try and get three points; the players are completely focused on the job in hand and not worrying about all the stuff that's going to be written about the game.

"We will attack this game in the same manner that we have attacked games in the last six weeks on this unbeaten run; we haven't done anything different and I didn't feel there was a need to do anything different in terms of taking players away or giving them extra days off.

"We have had the same week's training where we were in on Monday and Tuesday, had a recovery day on Wednesday, worked on Thursday and then a light day Friday.

"The players are bouncy, in a positive bubbly frame of mind, and there is a lot of banter, laughter, and smiling faces - and it gives you a lot of encouragement that they are really looking forward to this game.

"I don't need to tell them the importance of it; they are intelligent people and all know what the situation is exactly.

"They don't need to be wound up or given any more encouragement about being focused for this game; they know what is required and they are prepared and ready."

As for the younger players being more nervous perhaps, he adds:

"I don't think age comes into it; whether you are young or old, experienced or inexperienced, what is important is how you are as a human being and how you prepare mentally for any game.

"Everyone has a different way and different idiosyncrasies if you want, and they just get on with it; I remember when I worked with England and the best players in the country, and there would be someone like David Seaman who went into his zone of concentration.

"You would not talk to him before a game, he just went into almost a trance, motivating himself and getting in the zone.

"Then you will come across other players who don't stop chattering; they will chatter all the time before the game, and again it is the way they like to prepare.

"You must respect every player's mental approach to preparing for the game an hour before kick-off.

"I have got my own way of preparing for a game; a manager on a match day has a big part to play.

"To an extent I do agree with Sam that once they cross the white line they are out of your hands, and that may be true, but I also feel that on a match day a manager has an important job to do and it is important that he has a good day himself so that the team goes down the tunnel fully focused and fully prepared to play against he opposing team.

"Our preparation for Bolton started an hour after we came off the field after the Aston Villa game; I was already mentally preparing for the Bolton game and thinking about all the different scenarios that I would want in terms of training prior to the Bolton fixture.

"You wouldn't expect or want players to be like that; as far as I am concerned they really kicked in for Bolton's game on Thursday morning and did things relative towards helping us achieve the result that we want on Saturday afternoon.

"Come Thursday players are focusing and indeed some players don't focus until the Friday, and you have to accept that."

Glenn is backing Jermain Defoe to return to scoring form after a frustrating game against Aston Villa, and he says:

"Jermain is getting better all the time though sometimes, being so close to it, we forget; it is like bringing up a child when someone who hasn't seen the child for a while will notice more how they have grown."

As for Bolton's 'experience' at being near the bottom, Glenn says:

"They have some players that were involved in the battle last year, there is no doubt about that, and they also have a group of players for whom it is a new situation and you don't know how they will react, although you have to say that Bolton, like ourselves and Birmingham are on a good run - all three teams have picked up basically 12 points in the last six weeks.

"For ourselves, we have been in the bottom three for so long that it has been tense all the time and the boys have become mentally strong.

"We have to drag in a couple of teams who have not been in this position this season - because I think those teams will be much more nervous."

As for the game being away, Glenn insists that is no problem, and adds:

"It is our intention to win the game, and do everything we can to force the play down to the Bolton end.

"We will attack the game as if it is a home game; I don't think home advantage or otherwise will make too much difference to all the teams in these last five games, and we will be as positive as Bolton allow us to be in terms of us attacking them.

"But we know we have to defend well because they do have quite a few players who are very creative so that is the starting point.

"We will say 'boys, we need to defend well today' and we will do that to give us a better opportunity of going down the other end."

He says the support at the Reebok will be crucial, and adds:

"The fans have been superb, home and away, considering how difficult the season has been - we have been down there all year and we just hope in the next couple of weeks we can give them something to massively cheer about, starting Saturday."

Glenn is happy to welcome Nigel Winterburn back into the fold - though not, for the moment, the squad - after injury and then personal sadness, and he says:

"Nigel is training exceptionally well; the last two or three weeks have been so difficult for him.

"Apart from retaining his fitness, he has been up and down to Coventry tending to his very sick father, who unfortunately passed away just under two weeks ago, and it has been a really tough time for him.

"He is an only child and he has been rushing up to see his dad in hospital and to be with his mother; he has carried off that burden magnificently because he has come in and trained when he can and shown that if we need him in these next four or five games he is ready for the challenge again.

"When you get to know someone like Nigel Winterburn as a human being - obviously everyone knows about his ability - you then realise why he has been such a winner in his life.

"I feel very lucky to have managed Nigel in the last two years because he is low maintenance and looks after himself."

For Bolton, defender Bruno N'Gotty could return to the side after missing the defeat by Chelsea because of a calf injury, central defender Mike Whitlow is back in the squad after a long term knee problem, and Jamaican midfielder Ricardo Gardner, who scored in the corresponding fixture last year, should get the all-clear after having a minor injury.

West Ham of course have Michael Carrick, who has had a groin problem, back, with youngsters Shaun Byrne and David Noble added to the travelling party.

SQUAD: James, van der Gouw, Bywater, Johnson, Repka, Pearce, Dailly, Brevett, Bowyer, Byrne, Noble, Cole, Carrick, Breen, Cisse, Hutchison, Sinclair, Defoe, Ferdinand L., Lomas, Kanoute, Ferdinand A.

* The Open Day at Chadwell Heath on Tuesday has been cancelled due to a necessary revision of training schedules.