Experience Important

Andy Melville says he has enjoyed working with Christian Dailly since coming to Upton Park - and hopes their combined experience can help the younger members of the squad.

"I have been very impressed by Christian since I have been at the football club," says Andy, who came on at centre half on Saturday with Tomas Repka switching to right back when Hayden Mullins went off injured.

It is a scenario that could be repeated against Wimbledon as Hayden is out of the game with a back problem, and would increase the minutes on the pitch the Welshman has had with the Scot since leaving Fulham.

"He has made me feel very welcome and is a very good professional - a good captain who gets the lads going day in, day out," says Andy.

"He keeps the lads fresh and on their toes, and he was brilliant again on Saturday.

"I think at any club experienced pros are important because it sets the stall out for everyone else - and Christian's influence rubs off on all of the youngsters.

"We work hard every day as we try to get to the top two and if not top six."

As for comparisons with Fulham - with whom Andy enjoyed promotion - he admits:

"It is difficult to say; when we went up we were the best team in the league though we did have frustrating games like Saturday.

"Sometimes you have to mix your play up a little bit, which we are learning.

"There are a lot of young boys in the team - but we have to learn quickly and it is up to the senior lads to drive everyone on."

Looking at Saturday's 0-0 draw with Walsall, he reflects:

"It was frustrating for the lads; they got everyone behind the ball and made it difficult for us.

"The first half wasn't really a good performance; from the word go the tempo was a bit too slow and that sets the stall out for the rest of the game.

"We are all disappointed but we have to pick ourselves up for the next game now.

"Since I have been at the club we have started well in every game, apart from Saturday, so hopefully we can start brightly against Wimbledon.

"We have been working in training on how to break teams down and it doesn't matter how much quality you have sometimes, teams have to be broken down.

"You could see Walsall were happy with a draw because they were taking the ball into the corner in the last five or 10 minutes - you can't blame them, coming to a big club like West Ham.

"Sometimes you have those days; the passing was slow from a to b and it took time instead of mixing it up a little bit and getting it up front a little bit quicker.

"In the second half we did pick the tempo up, we had a few chances, but unfortunately we didn't take them."

Andy is delighted Matthew Etherington is back from suspension and adds:

"You are always going to miss Mattie because he is a quality player - he has shown all season that he has played at the highest level so it is good that he will be back and hopefully can do well for us tonight."

As for promotion prospects, he adds:

"Obviously it is going to be difficult but since I have been at the club we have said we are going to have to win more games than we lose or draw.

"But we are still on an unbeaten run in the league and we can't go off in our own little world and feel sorry for ourselves.

"We have to get behind each other and pick each other up which we did yesterday, we worked on a few things and we start afresh today."

He is not one for points targets and adds:

"I am just looking to the next game and winning that because you don't know what other teams are going to do; we go out to win every game, taking it step by step - but I wouldn't like to say how many points or wins we need.

"We just have to concentrate on Wimbledon and then Sunderland and take it from there."

Andy is determined to force his way into the side on a regular basis and adds:

"I have been disappointed I haven't played because I expected to after playing Premiership football before I got here.

"I had an hour on Saturday, a reserve game last week, and hopefully I can get a little bit sharper week by week."

Andy says patience will be the key now and explains:

"I felt a little bit sorry for the fans on Saturday - we were frustrated and they were frustrated and sometimes they have to be a little patient with us.

"Hopefully they can see that sides are coming here and sitting back so we have to be frustrated together - it is important that we all stick by each other.

"But the expectation at the club is such that we have to win and the players have to take that on board."

Perhaps Andy will open his account against the Dons after being bitterly disappointed he didn't score from Marlon Harewood's cross in the second half at the weekend.

He says:

"I had a good chance; first and foremost the lads at the back want to keep a clean sheet, but on set plays we get up there and I am bitterly disappointed I didn't score after having the best chance of the game, probably.

"But I will get in there next time and hopefully put one away."