Hayden's Premiership Pride

HAYDEN Mullins admits that winning the Play-off Final against Preston at the Millennium Stadium was the highlight of his career, and now the 26-year-old midfielder is determined to help West Ham United make their mark on the Premiership.

"I think there are players in this squad that will be really up for the challenge of the Premiership.

"Obviously a lot of us haven't played in the Premier League before, and we'll have to adapt to the step up in level.

"But we've got some talented young players in the side who will be able to handle the step up in class.

"We've also got players who have played in the Premier League before and no doubt their experience will be vital as we find our feet at that level."

The former Crystal Palace trainee, who switched to Upton Park in October 2003, has shown a steely determination to make his move to East London a success.

Tagged as a utility player and shunted around the side, it's been an uphill struggle for Hayden to convince Alan Pardew of his virtues as a centre-midfielder.

But having proved his quality in his preferred position, Hayden is now aiming to show the Premiership what he can do.

"I came to West Ham United because the whole set-up was Premier League quality," he admitted. "Now that we've won back the Club's top-flight status I think we have the facilities and structure to flourish.

"Obviously it will take a lot of hard work. There is a big jump up to the Premiership and we've got to prove that we are good enough to compete.

"But the lads are full of belief and confidence after the Play-off Final win and everyone is looking forward to getting back to pre-season and preparing ourselves for our first game.

"It's a dream come true for me to have got to the Premier League. Every player wants to play at the highest level he can and it's always been my aim to make it to the top-flight.

"Missing out last season was a really difficult experience, but it made us stronger this time around. I think this year we're better prepared to go up anyway, and hopefully we'll do the Club proud next season."