Mark Hails Hammers Fans

AT the end of Saturday's defeat to Reading, midfielder Mark Noble ran over to the army of travelling Hammers fans and hurled his shirt deep into the crowd.

It was the 17-year-old's way of thanking West Ham's 4,000 strong crowd for their support on what had been a tough afternoon.

Mark admitted: "The fans were brilliant all through the game. They're proper supporters, they sang and cheered us all through the game, even when we were 3-0 down they were still fantastic.

"It's great to be able to play for such incredible supporters, but we were gutted after the game that we didn't give them more to shout about.

"We know that we just didn't play well enough on the day and that's not good enough. First-half they overran us and scored from two set-plays.

"Second-half we got back into it and started to play. We caused them a few problems, but they were defending well and when the third goal went in it really killed our momentum.

"It was tough in the dressing room afterwards, but we've got to regroup now and focus on getting back to form against Crewe."

After three successive defeats the England Under-19 international knows that this will be a very important week in West Ham United's season as they look to put their promotion ambitions back on track.

"We've got to try and take six points from the two games coming up at home against Crewe and Leicester," he confessed.

"Neither of them will be easy games. Both those sides are fighting to make sure they don't get pulled into the relegation battle and they need the points just as much as we do.

"It's going to be difficult and we'll have to work really hard this week. Two games in three days puts pressure on the players, especially because of what's riding on those games. But that's what players thrive on and come Tuesday and Friday we'll be ready."

Mark returned for his first appearance in three games against Reading, after injuring his hamstring in the 5-0 win over Plymouth. And the young midfielder couldn't have come back into the squad at a more crucial time, with the Hammers going into their final run-in desperately needing a run of results to secure their position in the Play-off zone.

"It's about grinding out results at the moment," admitted Mark. "We need wins to push back into the Play-off places and get going on a good run again.

"Every game between now and the end of the season is going to be hard. There are a lot of teams still chasing those Play-off places and we've got to make sure we stay ahead of them.

"But they're plenty of teams at the bottom that also need the points and everyone's got something to play for.

"We're just going to concentrate on our own game though. We've got a game in hand over the teams around us and if we win that then we'll be right back in it again.

"Promotion is still achievable for us this season. Now we've got to focus on getting back to winning ways and making sure we get back into the Play-off places."