McCartney singing the right tune

George McCartney is determined to help West Ham United return to winning ways at Middlesbrough on Saturday - regardless of who is supporting him further forward.

The No3 is the only player at the club to have featured in all 20 league and cup games this season but, while he has been a model of consistency, he has had to do without a regular partner on the left wing. Matthew Etherington primarily and then Luis Boa Morte had both impressed in that role at times this season but injuries have meant most recently Freddie Ljungberg and Kyel Reid turning out on that side.

McCartney admitted: "It is nice to get a relationship with someone, playing a few games week in, week out but Matty's been injured and there has been a couple of new faces out left." That said, the Northern Ireland defender is not looking for excuses - claiming the approach for all this season has been to focus on the job in hand.

"Every player has to adjust. There is always going to be injuries and there is always going to be new faces in the team. I just try to concentrate on my own game and work hard for the team and play to the best I can each week. Whoever is in front of me."

In the 2-0 league defeat by Everton last Saturday, McCartney began with Ljungberg further forward before he was switched inside to accommodate the pace of the 20-year-old Reid as the team went for broke. "You just have to try and gel as quick as possible. I started off with Freddie and then Reidy came on second half. We were 1-0 down and pushing hard to get the equaliser but it just wasn't to be."

He is expecting better at the Riverside Stadium this weekend. "Our away form is definitely better than the home form and we will try and pick the bones out of the last couple of games and take the positives from it. But it is hard to take defeat. We will go up to the north-east and hopefully we can bounce back.

"For some reason we are better away from home. Middlesbrough were in the relegation fight a couple of weeks ago but a couple of wins have got them out of that and they will be thinking if they beat us they will go a couple of points behind us. It is not going to be an easy game."

McCartney played his part in the 3-0 home success earlier this season and, as the club look to secure their first double of the season, his goal is clear. "We will be looking to do the same again," he said, before claiming he was not expecting to get too harsh a ride despite turning up to Boro as an ex-Sunderland player.

"I am sure I will not get too much from them," he said. "I will just be staying focused on the game and hopefully the team can bounce back and get a good result." While he expects the home fans to be focused on their own resurgent team, McCartney also wanted to praise the faithful who will make the long trip up from east London on the last weekend before Christmas.

"The support is always brilliant. It is fantastic for any team to have that kind of support away from home. I am sure it will be no different and they will be turning up in their thousands to get behind the team again." McCartney may be the lone constant on the left-hand side but he is Mr Right in so many ways for West Ham United.