Pards focused on a winning start

Alan Pardew wants the dawn of a new era at West Ham United to get off to the best possible start - with three points on Saturday against Sheffield United.

The Hammers boss is expecting a tough game against the newly-promoted Blades but is hoping that, with the future of the Club now settled following Eggert Magnusson's takeover this week, the focus can return solely to working towards getting results on the pitch.

"The message from Eggert has been loud and clear about building a positive future for the club and we need to match that in terms of getting points on board now and moving up the league table," says Pards.

"It's not going to be easy, as we have a tricky game in front of us against Neil Warnock and his Sheffield United side, who have been buoyed lately with some good results of their own.

"We've had a tricky start to the season but we have a big run of games coming up over the next month and we want to be right on the ball in terms of picking up points to get us away from the bottom half of the table."

One thing that Pards is more than certain of is that the new owner will receive a fantastic welcome from the Upton Park crowd on Saturday.

"I think he will get what I would call a right East end welcome," he says. "I don't know if he will try some pie and mash afterwards, but I've no doubts the fans will welcome him!

"West Ham fans will be particularly overjoyed to hear that Eggert is a football person, with the traditions that we have. He is very enthusiast about the game, plays football three times a week himself and is a great character.

"His plans fall into what I am about and what we have started to build here. The way he would like to take the club further will extend very much on what we have been trying to do - buying good young players and targeting the quality to take us to another level.

"It will be all about careful planning, a strategy that doesn't put us at risk and there is no time scale on anything. We have to simply start on what is here now and go from there.

"In the first year in the Premiership you hear about looking to safety, but we never did that. We have always wanted to reach for the stars and nearly got that in the FA Cup final.

"The situation we are in now is that we are in a battle to get away from the bottom half of the table, that's the first priority. Once we overcome that, we can look forward to bigger challenges."

The Hammers boss has no new injury worries ahead of Saturday's game and will select his team from the squad that travelled to Chelsea last weekend. James Collins is back in training after a slight groin injury, while Dean Ashton is progressing well on his road back to fitness.

Winning matches is the key for Pards and while much of the talk has been about the future, he wants the focus to be on what is important now.

He said: "A new chapter has started for the club and, with the backing that Eggert is bringing with him, there is the potential to become a big club and challenge the teams at the top.

"But for me, the immediate focus is on the players we have got now and making sure we get the best out of them. I think people who have watched our last four games will have seen that we have been back to near what is our competitive best and now we need the results to reflect that.

"I just want to win games - that's all I've wanted to do for West Ham. By our standards, we haven't won enough matches this season and that's hurt me, so we want to put that right and hopefully we can do that in our next game."

by Laura Burkin