Luke’s Strong Spirit

WINGER Luke Chadwick insists that the team spirit at Upton Park is still strong, and that Alan Pardew's men will be looking to bounce back from successive defeats in the best possible way against Watford on Saturday - by taking all three points.


"The lads are still together," said the former England Under-21 star, "and we're determined to hit back with a win on Saturday. It's been a tough week, and we've suffered two disappointing results.


"But the belief within the squad is still high. We know that we can recover from this setback and start to push up the League again. It's now all about focusing our attention on the next game, working hard in training and making sure that we are ready to bounce back come Saturday."


In a heated London derby at the Den, Luke thought that the Hammers players kept their composure well, especially in the face of Marlon Harewood's red card.


"The decision was tough on Marlon and the team," Luke admitted. "It was a typical derby game, with lots going on off the ball and some real big challenges flying in. But I thought we kept our heads and were unlucky not to come away with something.


"There's no doubt we had our chances, and everyone was really gutted to have lost after the game. It was particularly hard on the fans. London derbies, especially against the likes of Millwall, really mean a lot to the Hammers supporters and it was disappointing that we couldn't get a result for them.


"But it's up to us to put that disappointment behind us, get back to work, and hopefully give them something to cheer at Upton Park in the next game."


Aware that the Hammers need to close the gap on League leaders Wigan, Luke was also quick to stress the importance of putting a winning run together over the busy Christmas period.


"We're coming in to an important time of the season," he explained, "and it's vital that we look to put a run of good results together over Christmas to get us moving up the table.


" We're in sixth place at the moment, which is not a bad position going into Christmas, but we do need to get back on a winning run as soon as we can to make sure that we keep pace with the leaders."


Following the dismissal of Marlon, Luke had to be sacrificed after 66 minutes at the Den so that striker Bobby Zamora could be introduced. But despite having a strong game, the former Manchester United star accepted his withdrawal as part of a tactical reshuffle necessitated by the red-card.


"I understood why the manager took me off," said Luke, "and to be honest I had no real complaints with the decision. Marlon's sending-off meant that we had to change the system and it was important to get another striker on as quickly as possible."


Now, with the Millwall disappointment already blitzed from his system, look is setting his sights on a crucial two games at Watford and Sunderland.


"The next two games will be very important," he insisted. "Our home form has been strong this season and we need to get back on track against Watford, and then take some momentum with us to Sunderland."