Curbs gearing up for start of new season

Alan Curbishley admits he is already looking forward to getting the summer break out of the way as the countdown to the new 2007-08 Barclays Premier League campaign begins.

With the players returning to pre-season training in just two weeks' time, the Hammers boss has already been busy planning the schedule, and says he will be leaving no stone unturned when aiming for the best possible start.

"I am big on pre-season preparations and consider it to be very important," says Curbs. "I saw a statistic recently which proved that teams who take a decent number of points in their first 10 games very often stay clear of the bottom three.

"West Ham managed that when they returned to the Premier League two years ago but, last year, it wasn't the same story. After the cup final at Cardiff, the break was short, some players were due to have operations, then other players suffered injury during pre-season, and the Club didn't get the start it wanted.

"That is no disrespect to the previous management team, because I am sure they would say same thing - it's just the way things turned out. I think it was something like 11 or 12 operations last season, which is an incredible number, and of course I'm hoping that we stay clear of those kind of problems this time around. We will certainly be looking closely at injury prevention ahead of the new season."

On that front, changes among the manager's backroom and support staff are already underway, all geared towards ensuring that everything is in place and running smoothly by the time Manchester City visit Upton Park for the opening game of the new campaign on August 11.

"I'm looking to make some changes and beef up certain areas of the medical and coaching departments," says Curbs. "Hopefully, we will have that in place by the time the players come back and begin the pre-season build-up.

"As I've said before, it is difficult to come in to a Club mid-season and make those kind of changes when important matches are taking place, so this summer is a fresh beginning for everyone and we will be looking to get everything embedded in pre-season.

"We're going for local games, which will hopefully provide some big atmospheres, followed by a big game at the end against AS Roma. We will work very hard and hopefully hit the ground running for that first game against Manchester City."

To see the full interview with Curbs, head to WHUTV now