Curbs: The penny has finally dropped

Back to back victories over Blackburn Rovers and Middlesbrough have seen Alan Curbishley's battlers close the gap on 17th-placed Sheffield United to just five points.

And with just seven games left, that has given him renewed hope of beating the dreaded drop.

"Today we've got ourselves back on track," smiled the Hammers' boss after seeing first-half strikes by Bobby Zamora and Carlos Tevez give his side a richly deserved win. "The penny has finally dropped that determination and a high work rate are needed to spark us on and, hopefully, this will be the lift-off that we need.

"We went out there and got a win and that's all we can do right now but we're still looking at all the other teams' results, too.

"And if we're going to catch the side that's fourth from bottom, then it's up to us to carry on winning the majority of our games.

"We scored early on and that gave everyone a big boost and, after going 2-0 up, we never looked liked conceding.

"Sheffield United and Wigan Athletic have now been dragged back into the relegation zone and when you consider that we've still got to play both of them, it's certainly going to be an exciting end to the season."