Don's Delight

Don Hutchison was delighted with his first start of the season against QPR - and hopes there are more to come.

Don played a supporting role to Marlon Harewood hitting the headlines at the weekend, coming into the side in place of Bobby Zamora, and, having been patient since returning from his knee problems, he says:

"I have always been happy here but I had a knee injury and couldn't get back in with the gaffer bringing in his own players and making good signings."

Don was close to going to Leeds on loan - but denies that a similar move to Nottingham Forest was on the cards, as had been reported last month.

"I was just trying to be patient and thought going on loan might be good for me to get me playing - and the gaffer, who was great about it, agreed," explains Don.

"He was always adamant that he wanted me here but it was just a case of going on loan to get some fitness.

"I spoke to Leeds' manager, because it was a fantastic opportunity to go to a big club, but then Sergei did his knee and so I obviously couldn't go.

"It is funny because I was so close to going away on loan but now a door has opened for me and I just have to try and stick with it and keep playing.

"But the Forest thing wasn't even close."

Patience has certainly been a virtue for Don, who very nearly grabbed a 'comeback' goal after a delicate chip into his path from Steve Lomas.

"When you are a player you want to play and everyone gets a bit frustrated when they don't - but as long as you take it in the right way that is the most important thing," he says.

While he had been making cameo appearances as a substitute, actually being in the starting eleven meant a lot to Don, who adds:

"It is always hard coming off the bench, getting 10 minutes here and 15 minutes there; you try and cram as much as you can in to that time.

"It is a team game, though, and it is impossible to try and win a game on your own so it is a lot easier to feel your way in and be part of it when you start."

As for his prospects of staying in the side, he adds:

"I am not going to say anything because it is up to the boss and we have a lot of players back; Teddy and Nigel will be back next week so competition for places is good.

"It was good to get the start in what was a tough game and I was hoping we could play good football against QPR, which suits me; in the first half we played really well and could have had two or three goals, but credit to them - they clawed their way back into it a little bit."

Don reserves special praise for two-goal Marlon Harewood and adds:

"Marlon has got so much pace he can terrorise anyone and he just needs the through balls that me, Bobby, and Teddy provide for him."

Of West Ham's prospects of continuing up the table after leap-frogging QPR, he says:

"We need two wins on the trot and that was the first; any team in this league just needs two or three back to back victories to climb the table.

"Look at Sunderland; they have won a couple and would have gone second if they hadn't lost at Millwall on Friday, and hopefully we can do that."

Don, whose contract ends this summer, insists he is content at Upton Park and adds:

"I have had two spells here and the fans have been good to me - I have never wanted to leave here."

As for Alan Pardew's decision to pick Don, he says:

"Harewood and Zamora had been looking a bit flat so I decided to bring in Hutchison, and I thought he was terrific.

"He did himself no harm; I thought he looked really clever.

"As for Marlon, he has played almost every game without respite, but his levels have been great - you can say a lot of things about him, but he affects the game and is damaging to the opposition, and QPR had trouble with him all day."