Kevin so Keen to prove himself at the top

Kevin Keen has revealed his pride and delight at being handed the role of First Team Coach at Upton Park.

Following the departure of Peter Grant to take up the manager's job at Norwich City earlier this week, Alan Pardew moved swiftly to promote his reserve team coach up to senior level alongside new Assistant Manager Keith Peacock, and Kevin admits he is honoured by the news.

"I'm delighted to have been offered this new role by Alan," he says. "It is an absolute honour to be given the opportunity to work with the first team and I am looking forward to the challenge immensely.

"I've been involved with the reserves for the last couple of seasons, and also helped with some scouting, so it will be nice to get that buzz back on a Saturday afternoon and be a real part of the first-team set-up.

"As Alan said this week, the Club means a lot to me. He thinks I can step up and do a good job, and I'm pretty sure I can, so hopefully I will provide a contribution that helps the team."

After a seven-year playing career at Upton Park, during which time he helped the Club twice win promotion to the top flight, Kevin enjoyed further spells with Wolves, Stoke City and Macclesfield Town before beginning his coaching career in the summer of 2002 when then-Hammers boss Glenn Roeder appointed him as a Youth Team coach alongside Tony Carr.

The 39-year-old has now played and coached at every level for the Club - from schoolboy and youth through to reserve and first-team - and admits he is relishing the opportunity to test himself among the Premiership elite.

"It was a great pleasure to play for West Ham, and an honour to come back and coach here," he says. "I'm in my fifth season back here now, and during that time I have learned an awful lot.

"It has been wonderful to be a part of the fantastic work that Alan Pardew has done since arriving at the Club, and I have enjoyed every moment of my time working with the staff and players here.

"Now I have an opportunity to take it to the next level and test my coaching abilities at the highest level - a challenge I am very excited about."

And as someone who knows only too well how Hammers fans will be feeling going into Sunday's London derby clash against fierce rivals Tottenham Hotspur, Kevin admits he can't wait to start his new role with a trip to White Hart Lane.

"It's going to be a tough game but, at the same time, a great one to get our teeth into," he says. "It would be lovely to go there and break our scoring duck, while keeping a clean sheet at the same time.

"That's what we're working towards this week, and we know how much of a lift victory at White Hart Lane would give everyone connected with the Club.

"We need to keep the supporters on our side with a fully-committed performance and, if the players can produce that, then I am sure we will turn the corner and start climbing up the table."

*Head to WHUTV now for an exclusive interview with Kevin Keen following his final game in charge of the reserves on Tuesday night...