Malky’s Momentum

MALKY Mackay insists that positive momentum will be the key to Hammers promotion chase between now and the end of the season, and the former Celtic player, who helped Norwich to the Premiership last season, knows that the Hammers must get back to winning form against Preston this weekend.

"Any team that hits a good run of form over the last ten games has got a great chance," he insisted, "whether it be going up automatically or through the Play-offs.

"We've still got a chance of sneaking into the top two. A point at Leeds would have been a huge help, especially with Ipswich and Wigan both losing last weekend. But those results prove that anything can happen in the Championship and we've just got to keep our momentum going and look to get as many wins as possible between now and the end of the season.

"It's important that we get on a roll and keep it going. We had three really important wins in a row that pushed us back into the Play-off places. There was a bit of doom and gloom aimed at the Club around the start of the year, but that has lifted over the last few weeks and it just shows you how quickly your fortunes can turn around in the Championship.

"Losing at Leeds after playing pretty well was obviously a disappointment, but we've got the strength and ability to bounce back from that against Preston this week.

"They're chasing promotion themselves and it'll be a really tough game, but with the home crowd behind us hopefully we can get a result."

Malky saw his defensive partner Anton Ferdinand limp out of action at Elland Road with a hamstring injury, joining fellow Scottish international defender Christian Dailly on the sidelines. Injuries have been a constant obstacle to West Ham's progress this season, and Malky admits the side needs its big players back at this crucial time of the season.

"If we can get some of our experienced and important players back we'll have strength in depth in our squad that no other team in this League has," he said.

"We've got quality players in the team, but having them injured for six to eight weeks at a time this season has hurt us. The defence has changed a lot, it looks like it will change again this week with Anton's injury. It hasn't been good for continuity.

"But a fit West Ham United squad will definitely be one of the best in the division and if we can hit a vein of form over the next few weeks and pick up a few wins then there's no reason why we can't start pushing towards the top two.

"While there's still a chance that we can achieve automatic promotion that will be remain our number one aim."

Malky was part of the Norwich City team that surged to promotion as Champions of last season's First Division. But the defender admits that the challenge of taking West Ham United back to the top-flight is far removed from  his experiences at Carrow Road.

"The expectancy on you to do well is far greater at West Ham," he said, "and that's used as a weapon against us by other teams.

"Managers tell their teams to defend all out for the first 20 minutes at Upton Park, because they know it unsettles the stadium if they do.

"It's something this Club is learning to adjust to now. The fans have a right to expect high-quality performances from their players, and as a player you expect that the fans are going to be desperate for you to do well.

"Of course, when you lose everyone is disappointed. The way to avoid that is by getting results, because when you win at Upton Park there's no better feeling than seeing the delight of the fans."