Alan's Hammers Homecoming

AFTER an absence of almost a month Alan Pardew is delighted to see his Hammers side return to Upton Park action against Middlesbrough this weekend.

West Ham United have not played a home game since the 0-0 draw against Arsenal on 24th September, and Pards is pleased to be back in front of the Boleyn Ground crowd this Sunday as Hammers look to get back to winning ways after the 2-1 defeat against Manchester City.

"It seems like a very long time since we last played at Upton Park," he admitted. "Since then we've come up against two of the most hard working sides in the League .

"We could have lost at Sunderland quite easily, but we showed a lot of character to turn that game around. Obviously we lost last week and were disappointed, but last time out at home we put in a very good performance against Arsenal.

"We haven't won in three and it would be a good time to get some points on the board this weekend. We really need to put the full throttle on this weekend against a very good team in Middlesbrough.

"You only have to look at some of the quality players in their team to know it's a side with lots of ability. They have more experience than us at this level and we are under no illusions as to how tough the game will be.

"But we're confident that if we play to our maximum then we'll be favourites to take all three points. Overall we've played to a very high level this season and we need to keep doing that."

Pards will welcome the return of the Upton Park faithful on Sunday to cheer his team on, who have been magnificent so far this season.

"The crowd are a huge part of playing at home and they've been absolutely fantastic so far this season," he said. "The Chief Executive has told me that we are near capacity again this Sunday with only Middlesbrough tickets remaining and that's great news.

"There's nothing better for the players than playing in the Stadium when it's packed out and full of noise and we'll be looking forward to that.

"It's been a good week, the players have responded well after the disappointment of Manchester City and now we need to put on a good performance.

"There were lessons for us to learn in Manchester and we need to take those into this game. We received a lot of good Press about our style of play, but I think we tried to overplay at times last weekend.

"It's important to remember that results count more than anything else and you've got to earn the right to play good football."

Pards must make the difficult decision of whether to hand Bobby Zamora only his second start of the season. The striker came off the bench to score against Manchester City and is desperate for his chance to shine in the Premiership.

"Bobby has done really well with his cameo performances," explained Alan, "and he's really playing to a high level at the moment. Of course, Teddy and Marlon have also been playing to a good level, so it's a very tough call and one that I'll keep private at the moment.

"There was a time when Bobby could have moved away from the Club, but he's stuck at it and is really getting the rewards now.

"He's looking the best I've seen him in training and is really determined to get his chance."