Mervyn Day on crucial clash

With the hype mounting ahead of tomorrow's tense trip to the Valley, Mervyn Day today insisted that the Hammers are working hard to stay calm and focused.

"We're pleased with our preparations," he said. "We've had two weeks to prepare. We've worked really hard in that time and had quite a few double sessions. We're pleased with what we've been able to achieve so far and now we just have to take that into the game.

"I don't think the players are feeling the pressure. I think all the hype about Alan Pardew going to Charlton and Curbs coming to West Ham makes a very neat little story for the media.

"I think they're probably building the pressure up on the management side than they are on the players. The players realise it's a very important game because of the league position, not because of the respective managers and I just think they're very focused on that.

"The players are fully-focused. I don't think we have any qualms on that score. In all honesty if they need motivating for this game then they shouldn't be playing. Everybody realises the importance of it. We're not trying to put pressure on the players by saying it's a must-win game, but really it should be approached as a mustn't-lose game."

Merv, Alan Curbishley and Keith Peacock were all part of the management team that enjoyed years of success at the Valley and he said: "I enjoyed 8 good years there but my loyalties lie with West Ham.

"I was brought up at West Ham as a kid. I had a good time as a player here and always wanted to come back at some stage in my career. We're here now, it hasn't gone particularly well so far, but we're hoping Saturday will be a turning point."