Marlon's magic Monday

Marlon Harewood continued his impressive Monday night record in front of the Sky TV cameras with a double strike against Birmingham City, and insisted afterwards that there is more to come this season.

The Hammers striker opened the scoring on 10 minutes and added his second just after the hour mark to set up the 3-0 victory against the Blues, taking his tally to six goals in our four Monday night live matches this season - all of which have ended in triumph for Alan Pardew's team.

"Yeah, I seem to have done well on Monday night's this season," smiled our 12-goal top scorer as he emerged from the dressing-room. "To be honest, though, I am just happy to score on any day of the week and, if it helps us win the game, then that is all I think about.

"It was great to get off to a good start and score the first goal tonight, because there have been a few games recently where the other team have scored first and we've had to battle to get back in the game.

"The lads are flying at the moment, though, and we got at Birmingham from the very start. It was a good win, but we've still got a lot of work to do and there is more to come this season."

Marlon's brace took his tally for the season to 12 league goals - placing him in sixth place in the Premiership scoring charts, behind Ruud Van Nistelrooy, Thierry Henry, Darren Bent, Frank Lampard and Yakubu.

There was some slight concern that he would have to wait a little longer to reach the deadly dozen after Blues goalkeeper Maik Taylor saved his 62nd minute penalty, but the rebound dropped kindly for the 26-year-old to fire home and he insisted afterwards that there will be no change in approach with his spot kicks.

"I was disappointed to miss the penalty - I couldn't even celebrate properly because I was that bothered by the goalkeeper saving it!" he said. "Thankfully, it ran for me to slot home the rebound, which was a huge relief.

"It won't put me off taking penalties, though, and I won't change my technique, either. It's worked for me in the past, so I'll just put this one behind me and look forward again."

With our FA Cup fifth round tie against Bolton Wanderers now just five days away, there is a very good chance that Alan Pardew will again rotate his front line of attack for the trip to the Reebok Stadium.

After Marlon and Dean Ashton were given the nod against Birmingham, Bobby Zamora, Teddy Sheringham and Yaniv Katan will all be straining at the leash to make the starting line-up on Saturday, and it's clear that the competition for places has provided a new level of motivation for our powerful number 10.

"I think it's fantastic that we've got so many good strikers at the Club now," he says. "The competition for places can only be good for the team and the manager - and we're all on our toes because whoever doesn't perform won't play, it's as simple as that.

"I've started a couple of games on the bench recently and, to be honest, I don't like it! I respect the manager's decision and as long as the team are winning then no-one can really argue, but I want to play in every game and I'm sure the other lads are the same."