Darren’s Determined Debut

AFTER something of a baptism of fire on his debut at the New Den last Sunday, defender Darren Powell can't wait to make his home bow for the Hammers against Watford tomorrow. And the big defender is hoping to celebrate by helping to bag a vital three points for Alan Pardew's men.

"It should be a great atmosphere at Upton Park against Watford and I'm really looking forward to it," enthused Darren, who joined the Club last week on a month's loan from Crystal Palace.
"It's another local derby, so there should be a good crowd, and hopefully they'll get behind us and we can give them a win.
"Waftord are going well at the moment, so it won't be easy but we need to turn things around after a bit of a bad patch, and what better way to do it than in front of the home fans."

Darren was thrown into the Lions Den quite literally last weekend, after signing for the Club just two days before the local derby against Millwall. But the big defender insisted that he enjoyed the competitive atmosphere of Sunday's match.

"They don't come much tougher than a West Ham United Millwall game," he admitted, "and I knew it was going to be a hard debut. But those are the sort of games I relish, and to be honest the bigger the atmosphere the more I look forward to it.
"It wasn't a happy debut for obvious reasons, but I thought that I did okay and hopefully the lads can put in a strong performance against Watford tomorrow and come away with all three points.

"The manager has been trying to keep us focusing on the positives, and we know that we have the quality to beat Watford. They'll work hard and make it difficult for us, but I've been very impressed with the standard of the players since I arrived, and I'm looking forward to hopefully being involved in a good West Ham result."

However, this will not be Darren's first outing at Upton Park.
"I played here for Crystal Palace last season and Palace lost 3-0," he recalled with a smile. "Hopefully I can be on the right end of a similar Hammers performance tomorrow."

The 28-year-old former Brentford and Crystal Palace player is no stranger to promotion, having helped the Eagles to the Premiership last season. But he stresses that the Championship is no easy division to leave via promotion.

"This is a tough League to get out of," he agreed, "and I know that the Hammers fans might not think it at the moment with the team going through a bad run, but West Ham are not that badly placed.
"Of course, everybody would like to be leading the division. But the team has suffered a lot because of injuries to key players this season, and the Hammers are still well placed in the promotion spots.
"I know this team has the quality to go higher, but it's the second half of the season that really counts. What the Club needs now is to go on a really good run over the Christmas period, move themselves closer to the leaders and set themselves up for a strong run-in.
"There are a lot of games over Christmas and it's the perfect time to hit a bit of form. With West Ham having something to prove after the last couple of games, I think now would be a an excellent time to string a few wins together, starting against Watford."

No stranger to promotion, or Upton Park, Darren's Hammers connections go deeper still. In fact he is even familiar with manager Alan Pardew, having played Sunday League with the Hammers boss when the two were at opposite ends of their careers.
"I played Sunday League football with Alan Pardew a couple of times," revealed Darren, who did not turn professional until the relatively late age of 22. "He was coming to the end of his playing days then, but still had some nice touches on the ball."

Likewise, Darren obviously left a lasting impression on the Hammers boss, and will be looking to make a similar impact on the Upton Park fans in his home debut tomorrow.