Gabbidon hoping to repeat debut memories

Danny Gabbidon made his West Ham United debut against Blackburn Rovers in the opening game of last season, the day that Alan Pardew's team won 3-1 and showed the Premiership what they were all about, and the current Hammer of the Year admits he is hoping for a repeat performance on Sunday.

"We won that game and didn't really look back," says the 26-year-old defender. "It set us on a good run, which we haven't had this year, so maybe if we could get the same result it could act as a catalyst once again.

"I am not really one for looking back at games, that was last year and we are in a completely different situation this year going into this match, but that is the kind of performance we need to produce again.

"They have different players and so do we and we both go into the game on the back of defeats so both teams will be battling for those points."

Hammers met Blackburn on three occasions last year in what were all very open high-scoring matches, but this year Danny admits he would settle for a low scoring victory.

"To be honest I am hoping it is not as open or end to end as it was last year!" he says. "I would just prefer for it to be a nice tight game where we keep a clean sheet and maybe just win 1-0 or something.

"It is a victory we badly need to turn things round, rather than an open high-scoring game. We have conceded too many goals recently and the defenders really want to put that right this weekend."

With goals being conceded at one end of the pitch and not being scored at the other, it is a frustrating time for the team. Howeve, the Welsh international insists the players will not be pointing the finger of blame at each other, simply getting on with the job of trying to put things right.

"Of course it's frustrating for the defenders seeing us not scoring but then I expect it's frustrating for the strikers to see us concede, so both areas need improving," he says.

"Although I was obviously extremely disappointed that we lost on Tuesday night, it was good to see us get on the scoresheet and create a few chances as well - that is something that has been missing from our games recently.

"Okay, we haven't scored many goals and that is a big problem but we haven't kept enough clean sheets either and done enough defensively."

Like most connected with the Club, Danny saw Tuesday night's defeat to Chesterfield as the lowest point of the season so far - a feeling he does not want to experience again and one which the team will use to spur them on against Blackburn.

"It was a very disappointing result at Chesterfield and probably the worst point of the season up till now," he says. "Everyone was down but we won't dwell on it for too long as there is another important game to come along on Sunday which we need to focus on and prepare for.

"We don't want to feel like that again so we will do everything in our power to get a positive result and put things right. This is a huge game for us.

"I think the crowd will be important on Sunday and I have no doubt they will get behind the team from the first minute. To be fair, they have been brilliant so far considering the bad run we have been on, so it is about time we paid them back and gave them something to shout about. I definitely think we need to use the fact we are at home for the next two games to our advantage."

With former Wales national team coach Mark Hughes at the helm for Blackburn, former Hammer Mark Bowen as his number two and Robbie Savage among the playing staff, there is a strong Welsh flavour to Sunday's opponents, which Danny admits he will use for a bit of extra motivation…not that he needs much of that at the moment.

"I go into all games with the same attitude and that is to win and play my best, but there are obviously a few connections with Blackburn and people I know which always adds a bit of extra spice.

"I am not really thinking about any of that, though, because to be honest it doesn't matter who we are playing, we just need to get a win under our belts and get some points on the board."

by Miranda Nagalingam