Hayden Going For Goal

Hayden Mullins is hoping to follow the lead of Kevin Horlock last weekend and get off the mark for West Ham.

With Alan Pardew asking for more goals from midfield, Hayden is desperate to oblige and he says:

"I slipped the ball through for Marlon's last one on Saturday but I am just looking for my first goal for West Ham and I am trying to get forward as much as I can.

"It is too much to rely on the strikers and now Kev has got one, Marlon has got two, and one was an own goal and you do need goals from everywhere and I am just doing my bit to try and help out."

He says his understanding with Michael Carrick is getting better week by week and adds:

"I am starting to know bits about his game as he is about mine and I am trying to get higher up the pitch to support the front two and Michael has licence to get on the ball and we all know what a good passer he is.

"The gaffer wants him to have it as much as he can and it is starting to gel and hopefully we can go on to win the division.

"The more you play with each other the more you learn about each others' games so it will probably build itself on every game played."

Although only 17 players travelled to the Midlands for the West Brom game, Hayden knows that when everyone is fit and available there could be changes.

"That is what you want at all clubs; you have got to have competition to push yourself, it is all well and good," he says, "and we have got a lot of strikers at the club when Neil Mellor and Jermain come back - it is what you want."

Hayden was on the receiving end of a brutal challenge by Wigan skipper Matt Jackson on Saturday and he recalls:

"I didn't really see too much of the tackle, I just got hit by it; I remember going in for a 50-50 and getting there before the guy.

"I have gone to take it past him and as I did so he did catch me on my left leg; there was no way I could have got out of the way of it and it did look two-footed on the TV.

"I don't know how it looked from the stands but he definitely clattered into me though I didn't think it was going to be a red card at the time, to be honest; I thought it would be a yellow.

"I think the referee might have been more on top of my one than Tomas' one so he might have seen mine better - he certainly jumped off the floor with two feet.

"I remember a few people arguing and shouting, the red card coming out, there were a few words said after that and that was it really."

Lee McCulloch was also sent off in that game after pulling back Tomas Repka for a second yellow card when many observers felt that he was extremely lucky to stay on the field following his first half assault on Tomas Repka.

"When he did he it he looked like he knew what he had done, he just went straight off, and he must have deserved it; Tomas was in front of him and he dragged him back," says Hayden.

"After the sending off we sat back and they got on the ball a bit more; we should have been on the front foot against nine men but when you get to that stage the game it is really over - though we should definitely have pushed on."

Much of the hard work was done early in the game against 11 men and Hayden says:

"I think when we did go two up the West Brom game was always going to in the back of your mind, but I think we did a professional enough job in the first half and when they had the man sent off it was really a case of just going on.

"The boys have been starting well in the first 20 minutes of the home games so fast that you knock teams on the back foot, so it wasn't really a surprise when Kevin scored that early goal.

"When we got another one on the own goal it was just a case of trying to build on that.

"I don't think the boys are giving it to Marlon but the big lad has done well; he came in against Wimbledon on Tuesday of last week and it wasn't easy for him - as I know when you just sign and come straight into the team.

"Training with the lads for a couple of days before the Wigan game probably did him the world of good.

"The boys are saying he can't claim that second goal against Wigan as it wasn't even a shot on target, but he is claiming it - so good luck to him."

With Sunderland conceding in a 1-1 draw against Wigan midweek, West Ham have statistically the best rearguard in the first division again and Hayden adds:

"We have got a better defence than Sunderland easily; we have not leaked too many goals, just that freak one against West Brom which was a one in a million game.

"We need to try and get up the league as far as we can and hopefully win it - it is a big game for us on Saturday and obviously we don't want them to get too far away from us in the league."

And a chance to make amends for the 4-3 defeat recently?

"It is definitely one we are trying to get our own back for," he says, "and hopefully we can go and get a few wins - though I don't think a draw would be the worst result obviously we are looking for a win.

"If we get the win it would be down to four points and then after that we have a home game against Stoke and that would be a great game to keep up the run, but we are just concentrating on the next game."

Hayden says he has had no problems adjusting to life at Upton Park after the only move of his career from Crystal Palace, and he adds:

"I am settling in fine, all the lads are good and have made me feel welcome and I am definitely settled now."

Lee Hughes scored the winner against West Ham at Upton Park but whether he plays at the Hawthorns remains to be seen.

"Everyone knows what Lee can do and it would definitely be a plus for us if he wasn't playing," says Hayden.