Ludo keeping positve

Ludek Miklosko enjoyed a taste of victory against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge during his playing days and is hoping that the current West Ham team can repeat that achievement today.

The Czech goalkeeper, who made 315 league appearances for the Hammers and is now the club's goalkeeping coach, was part of the team that won at the Bridge back in February 1996, when two second-half goals from Julian Dicks and Danny Williamson were enough to cancel out an early strike from Gavin Peacock, son of our current Assistant Manager Keith.

Ludek said: "Yes, I remember playing Chelsea many times and they were always big games to be involved in. Of course, when you went to a place like that, it was always good to get a win, because a lot of people didn't expect you to get a something there.

"While teams and situations have changed since then, that similarity remains, in that we might not be the favourite to get the result. Yet I think that only pushes the players to want the victory even more."

Another key for Ludek is that the match is a London derby, something he says adds an extra edge to the proceedings.

"As a player, you get to learn about the atmosphere in these games, you feel it as soon as you came out onto the pitch," he says. "One thing particularly in these type of matches is that good form doesn't always determine a win.

"We have nothing to lose in that we will go there and give it our best. If we can put a good show in like we did against Arsenal, look to compete with them at everything in the game, then there's no reason why we can't do well."

Ludek may also be able to catch up with fellow compatriot and friend, Peter Cech, who is making a good recovery from the head injury he suffered against Reading just over a month ago.

Cech has been spotted watching Chelsea's recent games and the Hammers coach is pleased to see him not only up and about, but also in and around football again.

"I have been in touch with him, but not for a few weeks now, as I wanted to let him have some time, just to rest and recuperate," says Ludek. "But it's good to see him looking better and doing well.

"With the injury he received, it will take time and Chelsea won't rush him back. Peter will know that is the best thing for him as well. But he is strong character and he will not only get through it all, but be stronger for it."

Closer to home, Ludek is also delighted with the impact that Robert Green has made since coming in for his Hammers debut against Tottenham last month.

"I am very pleased with how Robert has played," he says. "He had to come back from injury and it can take time to get your fitness back, but he has done really well.

"He puts in a lot of work, comes off the pitch last in training and you can see his confidence growing with every game, so that is good."

Roy Carroll is also working hard in training, while Jimmy Walker and young teenage keeper Marek Stech are both near full recovery from their respective injuries. David Blackmore has also been playing his part at youth and reserve level.

Ludek says: "It is my responsibility to make sure all the keepers, if fit, are sharp and ready to play at anytime. Roy is doing fine and Jimmy has been working on getting stronger. He will be able to be included in some handling work soon and is a couple of weeks away from full training.

"As for young Marek, he has been a bit unlucky since arriving here. He injured his ankle playing for the Czech Republic and then after recovering, suffered the same injury again.

"It has been a stop-start time for him, but he is settling in fantastically around the place, mixing with the boys well and will hopefully be involved in a few games now."

by Laura Burkin