Hayden Backs Anton

Hayden Mullins is backing Anton Ferdinand to really challenge for a first team place this season - and says it will be an interesting battle for the centre half positions.

Anton started the friendly at Colchester on Wednesday at the heart of the defence, his more accustomed position, and Hayden, who played alongside him at right back, liked what he saw.

"Anton is doing well; he is one of those players that wants to learn and has all the attributes of being a good player - the same attributes as his brother, as you can see," he enthuses.

"It is just a matter of him handling it and then bringing those qualities out in games, and I am sure he will do it.

"I think he is pushing on now to an age where he will be wanting to play in the first team; he is hungry, like every player who wants to play, believes in himself, and thinks he can do it - which is only right."

At present there is at a four way battle for the two centre half spots, and Hayden says:

"Anton is coming along leaps and bounds, Andy has a lot of experience, we have Christian and there is Tomas as well, although he has been using him as right back too.

"The squad looks good and I am excited to see what we can do this year; we are pushing for promotion and whether we can win it is another story."

Hayden insists he is not casting jealous glances at his old club Crystal Palace, from whom he joined West Ham last season, and adds:

"They have done well, but I am happy I am here and I am glad I made the decision to move.

"It will be very tough for them, and they are expecting it - but I am sure they will be relishing it."

Hayden is enjoying playing in the same side as Teddy Sheringham, and adds:

"We all know about Teddy; he links up the play well from defence to midfield and even the strikers to midfield - he is such a good player."

He is looking to step the pace up in the final pre-season game of the campaign against Anderlecht on Saturday and concludes:

"I feel okay; I have got the ground work in and now and there is one more game to take the sharpness out of."