Pards Positive For Lions Clash

HAMMERS manager Alan Pardew insists that his team will go into Sunday's clash with London rivals Millwall in a positive frame of mind and looking to put on a strong performance for their travelling fans.

"We know that it will be a very tough game, and our fans know that as well," said Pards. "But they will give us tremendous support as always and we are determined to put on a good show for them.

"This is a very important game for us, because we let ourselves down with a bad result against Brighton last weekend and we're looking to bounce straight back at Millwall.

"They are a difficult side to play against, especially at the New Den. Player/Manager Dennis Wise will have them fired up, and they will work very hard and make it tough for us to play.

"They'll also play some good football, and that will mean we need to be vigilant at the back, and take our chances when we go forward. But we've worked hard in training to get over last weekend, and I'm sure we're ready."

Alan was also quick to ensure Hammers fans that the importance of Sunday's occasion will not be lost on any of his players.
"We are all very aware of what this game means to the West Ham fans," he said. "Hopefully the game will be competitive, but also played in the right spirit. We remember what happened at Millwall last season, when we didn't do ourselves justice, and we'll also be looking to put that right on Sunday."

Reflecting on the fortunes of both clubs this season, Alan admitted that the two teams would perhaps want to be higher in the League. With the Hammers currently lying six and the Lions in 11th spot there will be vital Championship points at stake.

"Both teams would certainly want to be further up the League," he admitted. "From our point of view it would be fantastic to get the three points. We have had one or two poor results away from home recently and we are really looking to put that right, starting against Millwall this weekend."

The Hammers boss, weary of the intense rivalry between the two clubs, also had a message for the referee on Sunday.
"The referee will have a key role," he said. "It will be a really massive atmosphere and there will be tension all around the ground. I only hope that the officials referee in a strict and appropriate manner."

One definite absentee will be former Millwall striker Teddy Sheringham, who has a thigh injury.

Alan added: "Unfortunately, Teddy has not been able to train at all this week and will not make the game. We will monitor the situation next week to see if he is fit enough to take part at home to Watford. The injury is not a structural problem so does not require an operation, but like any muscle injury it needs to be rested so there is no chance of a recurrence."

The Hammers are also without defender's Malky Mackay (calf), Christian Dailly (knee) and Hayden Mullins (suspended), but winger Matthew Etherington is fit to play after going off against Brighton with a knee injury.