Christian Looks Ahead

Christian Dailly insists that he and his colleagues will be giving their opponents all due respect this season - even if there are some unfamiliar faces to play against.

It is a fair bet that many fans who travelled to Preston on Saturday would not have been able to name too many opposition players, as is the case against Rushden and Diamonds in the Carling Cup tonight.

But Christian, who won the man of the match champagne at Deepdale - and gave it to his parents - insists the Hammers are far from 'big time Charlies' in the first division and adds: "As a player, myself, I don't think you can ever think anybody who is a professional footballer as well is a step down from you when you are playing against them.

"If you give anybody a minute whether they are in the first division, the second division, the third division or the conference they are full time footballers and will be a good standard.

"Preston have some good players in their team and that was a hard game for the first one of the season.

"It was so pleasing how we battled especially after conceding that early goal, which was disappointing.

"I was pleased for the fans, the boys, and the whole club - it was important to get a good start like that.

"It was annoying to concede so early; we got caught at the back post but it is something we have looked at, but it is about how you react, and we did that well to get back into the game.

"But it is just the first step and we have to keep it going and hammer it home to people that it is not just about one game but another 45 league games like that.

"It is going to be so hard but I think we are going to be adding some faces as well which will help with the burden of that number of games."

And Christian sees the supporters as being a vital cog in the machine this season, explaining: "We have to keep the fans behind us and we have to keep winning - that will be important."

But he was not shocked at the sheer volume of the away support and says: "It is funny, I was not surprised to see so many fans at all. It was brilliant and you could hear them above everybody else - that is always the case away with our fans, everywhere you go.

"There is no doubt the fans will play a part and even after we went one down they kept going and going."

He is also backing the youngsters to shine and adds: "The thing with the exits that we have had so far means that there are going to be young players getting their chance, which is what happened on Saturday.

"They have great attitudes and they are all prepared to listen; it is just important we build on it now."

Christian thinks the away form, which was arguably respectable last season, will be the key in this campaign and he explains: "We want to keep going away and winning games, never mind draws. It will be important and have a big say in who does well in the title this year."

As for the recent criticisms from both without and within the club, he concludes: "People can say what they want. Seb has got his punishment and has been dealt with how the manager sees fit.

"All the boys that were there on Saturday in the circle want to be part of it. The important thing is the boys that are there, not the boys that are not there.

"Seb will come round - he will be all right, he's just a bit like that!"