Hayden Improving

Hayden Mullins is hoping that he can be fit for the trip to Coventry on Saturday - and can't wait to have a few training sessions at Chadwell Heath next week!

Hayden, who went off at half time on Saturday in Cardiff with a dead leg after making his debut against Forest last week before he had even trained with his new team mates, says:

"If all goes well the rest of this week I should be okay; I am concentrating on getting the leg right, but it was very frustrating to go off, especially with it being 0-0.

"I thought we might have won it for my first win - and the gaffer's - but Cardiff are a difficult team and it may prove to be a good result at the end of the season.

"It is hard there because it is not the nicest of grounds and not the nicest of fans - it was one of those typical first division games that you have to either win or draw but definitely not lose.

"On Monday and Tuesday I have been with the physios trying to get it strong so I have still only had one training session with the lads; it will be nice to get a full week in with them.

"It was a bit disappointing and I didn't really want to go off on Saturday, but I had picked the injury up in the first five minutes of the game and I tried to run it off but it was just 'one of those.'

"I sat down at half time and put a bit of ice on it and it really did stiffen up so I would have done myself, the lads, and the fans no justice by trying to go back out there."

Hayden is due a bit of luck after his debut at home to Nottingham Forest saw him slip just as the opposition pressed forward to score.

"I was wearing studs but I was missing one; in the second half I changed my footwear but I was slipping again - maybe I was over-anxious, I don't know," he says.

"I need longer studs because I was still slipping in the second half I have sorted them out, definitely.

"It was very disappointing to slip and it killed me but it was a great goal which has flown into the top corner.

"Overall, it was okay in bits and pieces but it could have been better but it was a good game and a hard one as well; the first one is always the best one to get out of the way.

"It could have been worse but we got the goal we needed to get back in it; we just couldn't quite get the other one but they had a couple of chances as well.

"They are a good side so a draw could turn out to be a good result at the end of the season.

"I don't think we did too much wrong against Forest; we had a lot of the play and created a fair bit but maybe we could have had more shots."

Not only had Hayden only signed that day, he was asked to play in an unfamiliar right back spot on his debut.

"It all happened very quickly, in a day really, and I didn't have any idea it would happen.

"It was the first time I met the lads and I hadn't trained with them so it was quite difficult.

"He asked me to do a job for him and as long as I am playing I don't really mind where it is; if I am in the team I will hopefully do a job.

"Hopefully now we can build on the two draws; it is a challenge for me and I am very impressed with the set-up."

Hayden's move marked the end of seven years at Crystal Palace; he made his debut under Terry Venables in his first game back as manager in August 1998 - the first of 222 league appearances in which he scored 18 goals.

"It is the first move of my career so things are different and to start the game against Nottingham Forest was even more of a surprise.

"It is very strange to have left Palace so it was a bit difficult on the debut but I am looking forward to being here - it is a massive club and all geared up for the Premiership so we just have to work hard to get there.

"Every player that was out there on my debut for West Ham is Premiership class and that is one of the reasons I made the move.

"All the lads are quality and there are no big time Charlies at the club, they are all very much together - it has been a very warm welcome."

It was only just under a month ago that Hayden played for Palace in the game at Upton Park and the experience affords him a unique insight into how teams approach games at Upton Park.

"The home dressing room is a lot bigger than the away one and it is a lot more comfortable," he smiles.

"You have got to win your home games but when I came to Upton Park with Palace you look at the whole place and this is where teams want to come.

"They raise their game so much to play in the arena of Upton Park because it is so impressive and every home game is going to be hard.

"We just have to do what we do and not lose; looking at it from an away point of view we were the underdogs with nothing to lose and it is a great place to show what you can do - and that is how teams will look at it."

As for who he most admires at West Ham, having played against them, he adds:

"The front two are very sharp and lively and do a lot of running; some of it is tracking back but mostly it is going forward and they are very nippy.

"The fans are very passionate and there are a lot more than at Palace so it is different."

Hayden hopes to learn and improve under Alan Pardew but he also insists:

"I don't think I had not stopped progressing so much but I was 24 and it was purely a decision that I could move on a Bosman this summer so it was do I sign a new deal or do I wait and see what could happen at the end of the season."

As for his ambitions, having already played for England at U21 level, he says:

"It should be everyone's ambition to get in the national team but first and foremost we need to get in the Premiership - and whatever happens after that happens.

"We are all in the game to test ourselves and that is what I am looking forward to doing."

Speaking ahead of the Spurs game, he adds:

"It is frustrating not to be able to play - I supported Spurs as a lad and I would have loved to have played in that one, but I am cup-tied already and it is disappointing.

"But I definitely won't be cheering Spurs; I am a West Ham player now."

As for the opposition and the fact that caretaker boss David Pleat has had something of a public row with Glen Hoddle, Hayden adds:

"That is for them to deal with, but it is a side attraction for them and we just have to concentrate on what we can do.

"They are looking solid under him and he may get the job but it will be a very good game for us.

"But if we show as well as we did against Cardiff we will definitely get a result."