Marlon's Final Push

MARLON Harewood insists that Hammers must go all out to win Friday's clash with Sunderland, and the striker is hoping for a big game atmosphere under the Upton Park floodlights.

"Every game over this period has been more important than the last," he said, "and Sunderland on Friday is a huge match for us.

"The players will try where possible to approach the game in the normal way, go through the same routines and prepare as they would for any game. But we know the importance of the match and we know that three points would make a huge difference to our Play-off hopes.

"The Brighton game was a disappointment, but we can take plenty of positives from that. We played well, created some good chances and should have finished them off. But they came back at us and the last minute equaliser was really gutting.

"The point did move us back into the Play-off places, which gives us a boost going into the Sunderland game. But we know that we should have had more points and we'll be looking to make up for it on Friday."

With the condition of Teddy Sheringham's hamstring causing concern, Marlon might have to shoulder much of the goalscoring responsibility against the Black Cats.

Indeed, the striker's longevity this season has been impressive, with his tally of 42 League appreances this term being the highest in the Hammers squad. But keen to emphasis the team ethic, Marlon plays down his robust record.

"I've been fortunate not to suffer too much with injuries this season and it has been great to play as much as I have," he said. "But I'm just one player out of the squad. When I'm selected my only aim is to go out and do my best for the team, and that's what I'll be trying to do again on Friday if I play.

"Teddy's a great player and hopefully he'll be available. But if not I'm confident that I can do what's required and even more confident that whoever comes in will do a good job.

"Bobby Zamora's looked really lively when he's come on in recent games and I'm sure he'll be desperate for the chance. The main thing is that we go out there focused on winning all three points.

"Sunderland won't make it easy. They've won promotion, but they'll want the title and I don't expect they'll be easing up. It's a massive game and I'm sure the Upton Park atmosphere will reflect that.

"Night games are always a bit special and when they are as important as this one then you can expect a really great atmosphere. Hopefully, we can get the win that everyone wants."