Captain's Log - Jan 26-Feb 1

Welcome to a brand new weekly feature on, as Hammers skipper Nigel Reo-Coker presents his exclusive online diary this season.

The Hammers skipper posts his first entry for us after picking up the man of the match champagne for his eye-catching performance in the 3-2 win at Arsenal…

Thursday, January 26, 2006
No midweek game this week so, after a welcome day off, we returned to training ahead of our FA Cup match against Blackburn on Saturday. Thursday sessions before a Saturday game consist mainly of preparation for the game, going through our team play and working on set-pieces.
In the afternoon, I headed down to the Adidas store at Covent Garden for a bit of a shopping spree - all free of course! Adidas are my boot sponsors, and they supply me with clothes and leisurewear when I need it, so I picked up some tracksuits, tops and trainers.
The rest of the day was just spent relaxing. I'm in game mode from Monday to Friday but, when you get to Thursday, the game is obviously fast approaching and I try to rest as much as I can before the match, so I watched a bit of TV before having an early night.

Friday, January 27, 2006

The day before a game always starts with a team meeting, in which the gaffer talks us through our game plan and points out the strengths and weaknesses of our opponents. Having played Blackburn twice already this season, we are quite familiar with their style and approach, but there were a few more things to run through before we headed out on to the training pitch for a short session, again just to work on our team shape and practice a few set-pieces.
This will sound boring, I know, but the afternoon and evening was just spent resting again! I like to do absolutely nothing in the days before a match, so I had a bite to eat before watching Eastenders at 8pm - the highlight of my night! - and heading off to bed.

Saturday, January 28, 2006
Matchday at Upton Park, so I got up at around 9.30am, had a quick shower, got ready, bought all the newspapers and drove to the ground for about 11am. I don't eat breakfast at home, I just wait until we have our pre-match meal at around 11.30am, which is always chicken and rice for me.
My routine for a Saturday home game runs pretty much like clockwork. After our pre-match, I relaxed in the dressing-room, played a bit of two-touch with some of the lads and drank plenty of Lucozade to keep the fluid intake high.
I don't have any superstitions before a game, the only thing I do is to say a little prayer to myself. I don't go off anywhere quiet, I just sit by my locker, bow my head, and have that little time to myself. Then it's time to get the mascots together and lead the team out.
We didn't make the greatest of starts against Blackburn, conceding a goal after just 25 seconds, but the lads didn't let it affect us too much and we came back stronger to turn it around and secure a great win.
Blackburn seem to have a reputation in the media for being a bit over-physical, but I didn't find it very tough in midfield and it certainly wasn't a dirty game. Sometimes teams just get a tag, but Blackburn aren't as bad as some people make out, and to me it was just a good old-fashioned cup tie.
After the game, I went out with Anton and a few friends for something to eat and we had a chilled out night to celebrate another great win.

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Sunday, January 29, 2006
A day of rest today, the only thing we had to do was a 20-minute recovery run in our own time. The lads are all supplied with heart-rate monitors so that the technical staff can make sure we have completed the run - there's certainly no getting out of it!
I got up around midday and went straight out for my recovery around my local area in Tadworth, Surrey, then came back to have a shower and...surprise, surprise, spent the rest of the day relaxing! I watched some of the footie on the telly - a bit of the Wolves v Man United game, but it wasn't grabbing my full attention, so I flicked through the channels and then played a bit of X-Box online with Bobby Zamora and Shaun Newton. We've been playing a shoot-em-up game called Perfect Dark, which I'm now beginning to excel at!

Monday, January 30, 2006
The start of another week and a night game at Arsenal to look forward to on Wednesday night, so another light session that basically was the second part of our warm-down after Saturday's game - just a bit of stretching and jogging, and a 12-minute bleep test.
I then did a power circuit with Dean Ashton in the sports hall after that - consisting of some dynamic work, bursts and sprints, that sort of thing.
After lunch, it was off home and, by the time I got in, the fifth round draw had been made and I discovered we'd been handed another trip to Bolton. Not the greatest of draws, because we'd obviously prefer to be at home and it will certainly be a tough game up there, but it doesn't really bother me.
At the end of the day, if you want to win the FA Cup, you've got to beat top sides sooner or later, and we know all about Bolton, so we will go up there confident of getting a win.

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Another team meeting this morning, ahead of the trip to Highbury tomorrow night. A few people have mentioned that it will be the last time we get the chance to play there, but to be honest it's not really a big issue for me - it's just another game we want to win.
We didn't do anything particularly special to prepare for Arsenal - every game is approached in the same way - and training was again just a case of going through our set-plays and making sure the shape of team was right.
I'd like to be able to say I had an exciting afternoon but no, it was just plenty of rest again! When the games are coming thick and fast as they have been recently, it's important to get as much rest as possible in your spare time.
I like to have every ounce of energy available when I step out on the pitch, so with a big game tomorrow, it's just another night of relaxing in front of the TV…

Wednesday, February 1, 2006
A midweek matchday, so a long day ahead, which can be frustrating when you are just eager to get out there and play. As it is an away game in London, we met at the Marriott Hotel at Waltham Abbey at midday for lunch, then some rest and pre-match at 4.45pm, before leaving at 5.30pm to travel to Highbury.
Arsenal started the game on fire, but we weathered the early storm and, in the end, I thought we deserved the win. I was long overdue a goal, so it was nice to score the first goal. Those one-on-one chances can be difficult because you have a relatively long time to make your mind up, but I just concentrated on keeping it low and thankfully it went through Lehmann's legs.
That was followed by my 'laffy taffy' goal celebration! The 'laffy taffy' is a dance from America that is sometimes shown on MTV, and me, Marlon and Anton mess around by doing it in training. When I scored, Marlon told me to do it, so I gave it a go!
It was also nice to celebrate in front of the Hammers fans after setting up Matty for the third goal and receive the man of the match bubbly at the final whistle. The lads didn't go out celebrating afterwards, though, because we know that the victory will be overshadowed if we don't get a result against Sunderland on Saturday. So I went straight home…for some more rest!

Don't miss Nigel's second diary entry, next week on!