Teddy's Birthday Best

AS he has done so many times already this season, Teddy Sheringham rolled back the years again on Saturday to inspire the Hammers to a 2-1 win over Wigan.

The three points and his 18th league goal of the season were made all the more special for the West Ham captain as Teddy celebrated his 39th birthday at the JJB Stadium.

But with another vital clash against Burnley on Tuesday night there's no time to rest on the plaudits, and Teddy insists the Hammers will go into the clash at Turf Moor on a high.

"Wigan was a massive result and a hugely important three points," he exclaimed. "It gave the squad a big lift and we're going into the Burnley game with a real buzz around the team.

"After the match the manager made it clear that we have beaten Sunderland, Ipswich and Wigan away this season. They are the three top teams in the League, and that says something about the way this team is capable of playing.

"We know this team is good enough to take West Ham United back to the Premiership, we just haven't shown that ability consistently enough this season. But winning at Wigan has given us a great platform to show over the remaining seven games that we have what it takes to make a success of this season."

After keeping a lively Wigan at bay in the first-half and then starting far more positively than the Latics in the second, Hammers might have felt aggrieved to find themselves a goal behind after 51 minutes.

But not for the first time this season Alan Pardew's men showed tremendous fighting spirit to come from behind and win, thanks to goals from Teddy and match-winner Marlon Harewood. The former England star was delighted for his strike partner Harewood.

"Marlon took his goal very well," admired Teddy, "and hopefully the goals will really start to flow for him over the final part of the season.

"With his style of play Marlon is always going to be a handful for defenders. He worked very hard against Wigan and a few chances came his way, so it was great to see him tuck away the winner.

"He's a very important player for us and I'm sure he'll take plenty of confidence from his goal and performance.

"It was a blow when we went behind, but we certainly didn't see it as game over because we'd been playing very well up to that point.

"At the start of the second-half we were playing the better football, and despite their goal no ones head went down.

"We had to really dig deep in the second-half to earn the three points, but our fans were terrific and it was great to get the win for them. Now we need to build on it with another good showing at Burnley. This is an important week for us and there's still a lot of work to do."

Despite the win at Wigan, Teddy is well aware that it still needs a massive effort for the Hammers to secure their Play-off place, with a host of teams chasing the Premiership prize.

"It's going to take a big push from now on," he admitted. "We've started in the best possible way and we need to keep it going.

"There are a lot of teams in and around us who will be thinking along the same lines. If you look at the table I think the third and fourth place teams are now pretty much secure in the Play-offs, so there's really only two places to play for and six or seven teams going for those two places.

"That's how tough it is. We've just got to make sure we are one of those two teams come the end of the season."