Clive On Progress

West Ham's latest recruit, Irish defender Clive Delaney, is hopeful he can do enough to impress in the remaining weeks of the season to earn an extended contract at the club.

23-year-old Clive, who was also courted by Bolton Wanderers, Kilmarnock, and Irish league champions Bohemians - who offered him a three year deal as opposed to the four months he has at Upton Park - was signed from University College Dublin so that Glenn Roeder and his staff can put him through his paces.

It is certainly a circuitous route, hopefully to the top, and giving us his CV, the 6ft 5ins centre-half says: "I got into part-time football when I joined UDC back in Dublin. They are a semi-professional outfit and they are in the top league over there, which is called the Eircom league.

"I got a scholarship there for four years by attending college, training in the evenings three nights a week, and playing a match at the weekend.

"They have been in the top flight there for six or seven years and have been able to hold their own, though they wouldn't really be challenging for honours.

"At the same time, because I was quite young when I got in the first team, I played for Brian Carey in the Republic of Ireland under-18s in Sweden in the European Championships when we finished third in 1999 - which wasn't too bad.

"We beat a couple of decent teams, getting a win over Spain and drawing with Italy.

"We went on a couple of other trips like in Holland when where we won a tournament, and there were a few qualifiers as well.

"Then as I continued with UCD I moved to the under-21s under Don Givens, who took over the reins a couple of years back. We played against Greece and did quite well and I was happy enough.

"Then then this opportunity came up - there were one or two clubs over here who were interested in taking me on for a week so I decided to come to West Ham and have a look.

"I was happy enough with the set-up and I did quite well during the week - and more importantly Glenn was happy enough himself.

"He just wanted to see me in games and he put a reasonable proposition to me which was to have a short term contract so he could watch me in games and monitor me in training to see if I am up to the standard he requires."

He admits it is a gamble, but adds: "It is a massive leap and it is a culture change, a lifestyle change - because in the last year I have been in full time employment and only training three times a week.

"Here it is 100% football. The training is very tough and the intensity is what I was finding difficult to get used to.

"In the first couple of sessions I was grand, but as they dragged out during the week I found I had to keep up to that level.

"But, talking to the physios and coaches, they said it would come with time so that is what I am looking for - and I am glad to have got a couple of reserve games under my belt because there is only so much you can do in training to impress."

West Ham had competition for his signature, and Clive adds: "Bolton and Kilmarnock were the teams that wanted me to come over so they could have a look, and Bohemians offered me that longer contract as well.

"But I chose West Ham because it was the biggest club and I have a few friends who support them - it was fairly straightforward really.

"I was impressed with how things are run and it is a great bunch of lads - I saw myself fitting in and I just want to take the chance and the opportunity I was given.

"The way I look at it is, I am not going to be a worse player after a bit of full time training and reserve games amongst the quality of players that are at West Ham.

"The end of the season is only two months away and I imagine I will be a better player after those two months.

"If Kilmarnock are seriously interested they will still be there in two months time - if things don't work out here.

"It does take a bit of getting used to and there is a gulf in the difference of class, to be honest - but in time I will hopefully adjust to the sharpness in training; I am looking to get up to the level now.

"The first sessions that I did were in the international week so a lot of those players were away and it was a mix of the young and old players.

"I just went in and trained as I would for my old club. I didn't change my routine but obviously there were a couple of things that I wasn't too familiar with because the coaches here are experienced.

"But you just have to get on with it and see how you fit in."

He admits the move came out of the blue, adding: "It was a bit of a surprise because when I was playing for UCD last season there was no one really talking to me about anything like coming over here and it wasn't something I expected to do at that age.

"I was just getting on with it - but having said that, when you get an opportunity like this, you have to take it."

If it doesn't work out in football, Clive will go back to his desk job, and, revealing his 'other' CV, he says: "I have a degree in Commerce and a Masters in Accountancy - that will always be there, but the opportunity to be at West Ham won't.

"It is a bit of a gamble I suppose but so far training has gone quite well."