Konchesky Stays Cool

ALTHOUGH Paul Konchesky will be hoping to make his competitive debut for the Hammers at Upton Park against Blackburn Rovers, the 24-year-old is no stranger to the Boleyn Ground.

A life-long Hammers fan, Paul was a Season Ticket Holder in the Bobby Moore Stand, before his own blossoming career at Charlton Athletic meant he could not spend as much time following the claret and blue.

But the England international was back among the Hammers faithful when he went to the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff to watch West Ham United win promotion with victory over Preston.

And now he is looking forward to gracing the famous Boleyn Ground as a West Ham United player on Saturday.

"I've been waiting for this moment for a long time," confessed the defender. "Since I joined the Blackburn game just couldn't come quickly enough and now it's hear this is a really exciting time for me.

"Just to be playing for West Ham United is fantastic, but if I can play in that first game back in the Premier League in front of a packed Stadium then it will just be tremendous.

"As a youngster I used to love watching games at Upton Park. I had a Season Ticket in the Bobby Moore Stand for a couple of years and Julian Dicks was my idol.

"It's going to be a great feeling to be out there on Saturday, but first and foremost I'm there to play and do a job for the Club. We need to get off to a good start in the League and that means we need a good performance against Blackburn.

"Although it'll be an emotional day for me and the Club, as players we've got to focus on getting the job done against Blackburn because we need to get some points in the bag early on."

It was not just emotional attachment that drew Paul back to his spiritual home over the summer, however. The £1.5 million capture from Charlton believes Alan Pardew's squad have a realistic chance of making an impact on the top-flight in the seasons to come.

"West Ham United is a club on the up," he insisted, "and that was one of the major reasons why I had no hesitation in joining. We've got a strong squad and we're capable of going places.

"I think we've got a really good chance of not only surviving in the Premiership this season, but also really starting to move the Club forward over the next few years.

"West Ham United belongs in the Premier League and although it's going to be tough at times this season, we've got what it takes to stay up."