Danny's Spirit Of Birmingham

DEFENDER Danny Gabbidon spoke before the trip to Birmingham about the need for top-class preparation when playing at the highest level.

And the 26-year-old Welsh international had surely done his homework on the Blues, turning in an excellent performance that earned him the Man Of The Match award from Sky Sports.

But Danny was quick to praise the effort put in by his team-mates in securing a vital 2-1 win at St Andrews and three precious away points.

"It was tough going behind so early," he admitted, "but we stayed focused, worked really hard to get back into the game and scored two really good goals just before half-time that gave us the upper-hand again.

"We had to dig deep in the second-half because we expected some pressure from Birmingham. But we held on to earn three really good points. Although Birmingham are struggling at the wrong end of the table, it is still a very difficult place to go and win.

"The result will give us a lot of belief going into another two really tough away games against Blackburn and Everton."

Danny, a summer signing from Cardiff City, believes spirit among the Hammers squad has galvanised the dressing-room and helped create the battling qualities shown at Birmingham.

"There is a good spirit in the team," added Danny. "Everyone gets on really well and the lads work hard for each other, whether it's in training or matches.

"When we score you can see everyone is there celebrating and that shows the togetherness of the squad.

"There's a great team spirit and that is reflected in the way we play, because we play as a team and play for each other.

"It's helped us make such a good start to the season and hopefully it will continue over the Christmas period, because this would be a great time to keep picking up results so that we give ourselves a strong platform going into the New Year.

"Our aim is still to stay up, but we want to aim higher than that and we believe that we can achieve something further than just survival.

"We can take a lot of confidence from our performances this season. No one has given us a hiding and along the way we've played some really good football.

"There's no reason why we can't look to consolidate our position in the table and hopefully look to push on from here."

Danny has had to learn fast at the top level. His Premiership debut was in West Ham's opening day triumph over Blackburn Rovers and the defender has not looked back, starting every League game and impressing in almost every one with his athletic defending.

But the Welshman believes there is more to come.

"You need to be at your maximum in every game at this level," he explained. "There are no bad strikers in the Premier League, and if you have a slightly off game at this level then your mistakes will get punished.

"That's probably the main difference from making the step up from the Championship. But I've enjoyed the challenge of trying to improve myself as a player and hopefully I can continue to do that as the season goes on.

"Testing myself at the highest level was always a dream of mine and I'm relishing the chance.

"Every game you face a different test and they are all very tough. I think I've handled it okay so far. I've been fairly pleased with my performances but I can do a lot better."