Etherington: This team is going places

After reaching a personal milestone in Monday night's victory over Birmingham City, and being tipped for an international call-up by his manager, Matthew Etherington admits that life couldn't be much better at the moment.

The 24-year-old winger celebrated his 100th league appearance for the Hammers with a man of the match performance in the 3-0 win over Steve Bruce's men, and has provided a telling contribution to the seven-match winning run that has seen Alan Pardew's men surge to sixth place in the Premiership and within 90 minutes of the FA Cup quarter-finals.

With Pards also tipping him as a possible solution to England's left-sided problems, the former under-21 international is certainly enjoying an impressive spell of form and admits that he is making the most of the good times currently engulfing Upton Park.

"It was nice to pick up the man of the match award on Monday," says Matty, "but the biggest bonus was another great win and a good performance from the lads.
"I think my form started to pick up once we got over the busy Christmas period, and it's going really well for me at the moment. I'm enjoying my football, it's a great team to be a part of and the confidence is really high.

"It's important to enjoy the good times, because a few of us here have experienced some tough times in the last couple of years, and we've worked very hard to get where we are now. I've always thought this club could go places - that's why I signed in the first place - and we are starting to show what can be achieved here if everyone stays focused.

"We won't get carried away, because things can change so quickly in football and we haven't actually achieved anything yet, but if we keep progressing and performing well, then who knows where we can go."

After a fifth successive Premiership victory on Monday, the attention now turns to Saturday's FA Cup fifth round tie at Bolton Wanderers and, with a two-week break to follow the trip to the Reebok Stadium, Matty admits that the players have been eager to maintain their winning run in both competitions.

"It was important that we carried on our good form and got the three points against Birmingham on Monday," he says, "because it was our last Premiership game for three weeks and it keeps the momentum going.

"The same goes for the Bolton cup tie. We're in a good position in the league and we have a chance of doing well in the FA Cup, so a good result on Saturday will keep the confidence flowing.

"We know it is going to be a tough game but, with the form we are in at the moment, there is nothing to be afraid of, and we can go up there full of confidence."