Bowyer feeling sharp for visit of Blades

Lee Bowyer was determined to put behind him the disappointment of his first spell with the Hammers when he returned to Upton Park in the summer, and it is fair to say he has gone some way to achieving that goal already.

The former Newcastle midfielder has produced several impressive performances, despite struggling with injury, and is even more excited about the future following the completion of the takeover earlier this week.

"I think it was important for the Club that the takeover went through as soon as possible, as it did seem to be dragging on a bit," he says. "We have all met the new chairman now and he seems very enthusiastic. The comments he made to us were very positive and encouraging, so I guess now we need to produce for him on the pitch.

"I personally didn't find all the takeover speculation that unsettling, because at the end of the day it was out of our hands and all we as players can do is continue to perform on the pitch while things went on around us.

"However, it is definitely a good thing that it is all sorted now, as it was all the press seemed to be focusing on and all anyone kept asking about, so at least the focus can now go back to football."

Bowyer has only recently returned to the team after recovering from a hernia operation, and didn't enjoy the easiest of comebacks - being thrown in against Arsenal and Chelsea - but both were good all-round performances from the former England international and the rest of the team.

"I was out for four to five weeks, which was a very frustrating time, especially with the way results were going," he says. "I got my chance back in the team against Arsenal and, although my fitness began to tell as the game progressed, I was pleased with how I got on and we obviously got a great result.

"I then missed the Middlesbrough game through illness but then came back against Chelsea and thought we were really unlucky not to get a point. They scored from a brilliant free-kick but apart from that I thought we limited their chances.

"After all, they are the Champions and I think we had them a bit worried towards the end, so there are a lot of plusses to take from match into tomorrow's game."

Bow is expecting a tough defensive game from Premiership new boys Sheffield United, but is also quietly confident that, buoyed on by the home crowd, Hammers can continue the unbeaten run at Upton Park.

"I think tomorrow's game is going to be hard, they will play quite defensively and will be hard to break-down," he says. "I think they will play a 4-5-1 so we will need to attack well to find a way through.

"It is a bit of a six-pointer as they will go above us if they win, so it is vital we get the three points. We are at home, though, and have had a couple of great results and performances in front on the home crowd recently so I am confident we can continue that."

His recent hernia operation was the second of Bowyer's career, and he is pleased with his speedy return to fitness this time around.

"I have been surprised to come back so quickly, to be honest," he says. "I have had the operation before and it took a lot longer until I was back playing and there were complications as well, but this time it all went really smoothly so I am delighted.

"At the moment I am just concentrating on getting back to full fitness which will just come with the games but generally I am feeling good. I just need a goal now, which I am hoping to get tomorrow!"

by Miranda Nagalingam