Bowyer ready to face former team-mate

Lee Bowyer is set to face former Leeds and Newcastle United team-mate Jonathan Woodgate next Saturday when Middlesbrough visit Upton Park for the Hammers' next crucial Premiership encounter.

"I'm pleased for Jonathan that he's back playing after injury," Lee said. "He's had a great season this season. It must have been a hard time for him in Spain because he just kept on breaking down from injury after injury.

"I'm glad he's back but I'd rather he wasn't playing against us because he's a great defender. I think he's probably in the top three centre-halves in this country."

Lee also reflected on last Saturday's long-awaited away win against Blackburn. He said: "I think it was a long time coming. It wasn't a very nice game. The conditions made it difficult on the pitch.

"But we did what we've been threatening to do for the last couple of weeks and we got a result. We're delighted with the three points and we've just got to keep trying.

"All we can do is keep trying to win. If others around us slip up then they slip up and it's a bonus for us. I think it's very possible that we'll stay up because Portsmouth did it last season."

And, like many of his Hammers team-mates, Lee is keen to get back out on the pitch again after picking up three vital points.

"I think ideally we would rather have had a game this weekend to keep going," he said. "But it might be a good thing that we've got a couple of weeks to get ready for the next game, at home to Middlesbrough. If we get three points there and the others above us drop points then it brings them closer and you never know where it can lead."