A Family Plea For Lee!

Robert Lee admits he is getting hassled by his West Ham-supporting family and friends about whether he is going to join the club or not - and he promises that if he does it will swell the attendance at Upton Park somewhat!

"A couple have bought season tickets already, even though it is a bit premature at the moment - but I think I might put a few on the gate," he smiles.

"At the moment though, nothing is sorted out and I am still waiting - and hopeful.

"I am being pestered all the time by my family - I have been since I started training here and it has been going on three weeks now.

"I have got loads of family and friends who are season ticket holders anyway. They are all desperate to try and get into the players' bar but I don't think I can get them all in."

As for a final decision as to him joining, he says: "It is out of my hands. I am delighted to be involved and playing at the club I have supported for a long, long time.

"It has been a great experience, the lads have been fantastic, and there is a great team spirit.

"I certainly hope something happens but if I don't join I have certainly had a good time for a few weeks."

As for the assault on the first division, where he was of course operating with Derby County last season, he adds: "I think if we kept all our players fit all season then in my opinion they are certainly good enough to get up. There are some great, great players like Joe Cole, Fredi Kanoute, Jermain Defoe, and Michael Carrick.

"With that calibre of player in your team you have a chance - but what you have to do in the first division is match their endeavour.

"For 60 or 70 minutes they are going to fly at you and bomb you - and some games are not going to be pretty.

"West Ham like to play good football and they have good football players but we have got to have a bit of heart and we have to match the physical side of the game.

"Once we do that our ability and quality players will shine through in the end."

He even feels the experience can benefit the young stars at West Ham, and adds: "They are very young and have never played in it before; it is a learning experience for them.

"I played in it when I was very young with Charlton and I think it held me in good stead.

"You don't want to be there too long - one season is long enough - but to actually experience it and see the way it is played in the lower leagues helps you appreciate it when you are back in the Premiership."

Rob admits that Tuesday night's 3-1 defeat at Wycombe was a huge disappointment and adds: "It was a poor result and we all know we didn't play particularly well; in saying that we still could have had six, seven, or eight goals maybe.

"On another day Fredi, Jermain, Joe would have scored a lot of goals - Jermain would have had a hat trick - so we are not too despondent.

"It is a poor performance and a poor result, but it is pre-season and we would rather get it out of the way now than when we play Preston.

"The main aim is to get the fitness going, though it is nice to win pre-season games because winning is a habit that you want to keep going.

"At the end of the day it is about getting fit, not getting too many injuries, and building up for the kick-off in just over a week against Preston.

"We will certainly have to play better than we did at Wycombe but if we create that many chances again for our forwards I am sure they will score more."