Shaka determined to bounce back

Shaka Hislop says that Hammers are determined to get back to winning ways in the Premiership before facing next week's FA Cup semi-final.

The excitement is building ahead of our prestigious clash with Middlesbrough at Villa Park on Sunday, April 23 but, before then, Alan Pardew's men will be aiming to bounce back from last week's 4-1 defeat at Chelsea by seeing off Manchester City on Saturday and our semi-final counterparts at the Riverside Stadium 48 hours later.

And as one of the more senior squad members at Upton Park, our veteran goalkeeper insists that his young team-mates have the character to respond to the challenge in front of them.

"Winning is a habit, and a hard one to get into," says Shaka. "That's why, if we can pick up a couple of good results this weekend, it will boost the confidence ahead of the semi-final.

"We had a very disappointing result against Chelsea, but it was a similar feeling to when we lost 4-1 up at Bolton last month - and we responded to that by beating them in the cup a few days later.

"So we know that we have the character to bounce back from disappointment and, as we have shown all season, the players are ready for the challenge.

"This season has gone very well for us, both in the Premiership and the FA Cup, and I think it is important to look at the bigger picture. Yes, it was a poor performance against Chelsea, but there haven't really been too many of those this year.

"I've looked around at the guys in training this week and it's clear that everybody is in good spirits. We've taken a knock on the chin but we will bounce back again and that has to start this weekend."