Konch takes positives from derby draw

Paul Konchesky was disappointed with a 0-0 draw against Charlton Athletic yesterday but insisted that there were still some positives to take from the afternoon.

The Hammers defender was playing against his former club at Upton Park for the first time since his switch last summer and, following our 2-0 defeat at the Valley back in December, had hoped to end up on the winning side this time around.

"Obviously it's disappointing to end up with a 0-0 draw at home," he said. "But I thought we deserved a goal on our second half performance.

"We created a bit more than Charlton - I think they only had one shot in the second half - and they had their goalkeeper and defenders to thank for keeping us out.

"It wasn't to be, but we've got a point, a clean sheet, and didn't lose the game, so there are still some positive factors to take from it."

Sadly, Paul wasn't handed the kind of reception from his former supporters that his Charlton counterpart Chris Powell enjoyed upon his return to Upton Park, but the 24-year-old admitted he hadn't been too distressed by the jeers of the away fans.

"It wasn't too bad, really - I've seen other players get a lot worse!" he smiled. "There was a little bit of banter going on at one point, but the Chicken Run was drowning them out and I know who I'd rather be getting stick from!"

Of course, there is a chance the two clubs will meet again on a more prestigious occasion at Villa Park on April 23, provided Charlton overcome Middlesbrough in their FA Cup quarter-final replay at the Riverside Stadium next Wednesday, and Paul expects another close encounter should they do so.

"We've played them twice already and haven't won yet," he says, "so hopefully it will be third time lucky if we play them again!

"We know what they're about, and they know what we're about, so it would probably be another tight game, but they've got to beat Middlesbrough first and that will be a tough game for them."

With Hammers heading off to Dubai today for a warm-weather training break, Alan Pardew's men will hopefully return refreshed and re-energised for another London derby clash next Sunday, away at Champions Chelsea, and Paul insists the players are confident of throwing a spanner in the works as Jose Mourinho's team bid to retain their title.

"It will be nice to have a break and for the lads to spend some time together," he says, "but we've got a big game at Chelsea next week so we know we'll have to prepare in the right way for that one.

"It's going to be a tough game, but we have done well in the London derbies this season and we're looking forward to this one. The fans will be up for it, and Chelsea have been going through a little sticky patch recently, so hopefully we can cause an upset."