Hayden's Step To Success

AFTER what manager Alan Pardew described as one of his best performances for the Club, midfielder Hayden Mullins can not wait to get back into action against Newcastle United at St. James' Park on Saturday.

The 26-year-old is expecting a stiff examination of West Ham United's Premiership credentials this weekend, but after the magnificent opening day win over Blackburn Rovers Hayden is confident Hammers will give a good account of themselves in their first away match of the season.

He said: "Newcastle will be a good test for us. We're away from home, they're a good side, it's a big stadium and it's the sort of match that will show us just how
far we have come.

"In our first game against Blackburn we proved that we can play and compete at this level, but Newcastle away will be a different sort of challenge and we have to respond.

"Every game is tough and St James' Park is a difficult place to go for any team, but we're feeling confident and feel we can go there, do well and get a good result."
Hayden admits that the 3-1 win over Rovers in front of an atmospheric Upton Park was the perfect start to the season.

And while Alan Pardew's men are far from getting carried away over just one win, the former England Under-21 star reveals the spirit in the Hammers camp has been bubbling this week.

"The atmosphere has been really, really good this week," he explained. "We're all delighted at kicking the season off with a win, especially with the way we went about it against Blackburn, competing for everything and coming from behind in the second-half.

"But the good sprit is something that's always been in this squad to be honest. It's great being part of what we have established here. If you ask any manager or player, having the type of spirit we've got in a team is a big part of football. I'm sure other Premiership teams would like to have what we have here."

"It's a strong sense of togetherness that keeps you going when things get tough, and we know that we aren't going to win every game this season, and there will be hard times.

"Newcastle lost on the opening day to Arsenal and this will be their first home game of the season, so they'll be looking to put in a performance for their fans.

"But all we can do is worry about our own game. We're confident and determined to do well and have just got to go out there and play our own game."

Memories of last weekend's triumph over Blackburn will certainly help as Hammers travel to the North-East.

"Coming from behind, and getting back to win 3-1, comfortably in the end was good, because Blackburn are a good side who have been in the Premiership a few years now," said Hayden.

"We got through the first 20 minutes of the match and even though we were 1-0 down at half-time, we had been creating chances ourselves so we always believed we could get back in the game.

"Teddy's goal gave us the platform and we kicked on from there really."

Despite earning his manager's praises Hayden was typically modest about his own performance though.

He said: "I was pleased with my own play, but not 100 per cent, because you always feel you can do better and that's how it should be. The main thing was that it was pleasing how well we played as a team.

"We looked solid, dangerous and played like a Premier League outfit. That's given us confidence we'll take to Newcastle.

"At this stage of the season it's important to get as many points on the board as we can. Getting away to a good start is tough for all the teams in the Premiership and if we can come away with a point or more again this weekend at St. James' Park then it's another step in the right direction."