McCartney eager to take his chance

George McCartney is looking forward to finally making his Premiership debut for West Ham United this afternoon and hoping he can play his part in helping to push Hammers back up the table in the next few weeks.

After recovering from a knee ligament injury that held him back after his summer move from Sunderland, the 25-year-old full-back appeared for the first time in Tuesday night's Carling Cup defeat against Chesterfield, and is in line to replace the suspended Paul Konchesky for today's clash against Blackburn Rovers.

"With Paul being not able to play, someone else has to come in against Blackburn and I'm hoping that I've done enough in the games I have played for the manager to pick me," says George.

"That's what it's about, you don't want anyone out, but if there is, the manager wants to know that he has the players to come in and do a job. Hopefully I can do that.

"I was pretty happy with how I played at Chesterfield, but I know I have more to give," adds George. "That's going to come with playing more games of course.

"Although I was disappointed like the rest of the team with the result, it was just good to be able to play, because it's been near-on two months since I came here and it's been frustrating, with the injury and not being up for selection to play. But hopefully now I can get going and be ready to play should the manager pick me."

And as Hammers prepare for a high-pressure encounter against Mark Hughes's side this afternoon, the Northern Ireland international insists he is ready for the challenge ahead of him and desperate to achieve one single aim - to be on the winning team come 5.45pm.

"You always want to play at a high level, but I think we would all agree that the performance is perhaps not the most important thing for us against Blackburn," he says. "If it means a scrappy 1-0 win, then that will be good enough and we can build from that.

"The spirit and banter is very good here and we're all involved in making sure everyone has a smile on their face this week. That hasn't changed, the belief amongst the team is very good and that's what we will continue to take into each game.

"We look at the strengths we have got here, both on and off the pitch. There have been a few games where the lads have played well and still not got the result and you find that happens when you are in this situation, nothing goes for you, not even the slightest little thing.

"But the way we look at it is that we can't do anything about past results, so we now have to concentrate on Blackburn. We all believe that if we can get a result, then there's no reason why we can't go on and go up the table from there."

By Laura Burkin