Curbs focused on a repeat performance

With our relegation rivals struggling to stay afloat, five fantastic wins from the last seven outings have bolstered West Ham United's chances of Premiership survival.

But while the lifeboat may be on the horizon, with three crucial hours of football still to play - and Hammers still languishing in the bottom three - Alan Curbishley insists the rescue operation is far from over.

And following the emphatic 3-0 victory over Wigan Athletic, the Hammers boss knows that there is no room for complacency when Bolton Wanderers trot into Upton Park on Saturday.

"We're still alive but now we must go and get something from our next game," warns Curbs looking ahead to the weekend visit of Sammy Lee's fifth-placed side. "People talk about our momentum - and I'd much rather have the points on the board already - but we still go into the Bolton match with a chance of getting out of this.

"When I first took over and we had that terrible run of results, I'd have taken this position with two games remaining.

"Ever since we played Spurs - a game in which we showed a lot of positives and shouldn't have got beaten - we've been saying that it ain't over but, obviously, we've still needed to get the points.

"Even if we get to my target of 38 points, we're still relying on other things but given our momentum and the way we're playing at the moment, there's no reason why can't we get more than that. After all, Middlesbrough went to Manchester United, where they got a draw and could've got even more."

Certainly Curbs could not have asked for more at the sold-out, silenced JJB Stadium where goals from Luis Boa Morte, Yossi Benayoun and Marlon Harewood ensured that woeful Wigan were simply blown away by the pace and power of his hearty Hammers, who were roared on by 5,500 ecstatic East Enders.

"We stressed to the players that we needed to make sure that the right team turned up - was it going to be the one that played ever so well against Everton or the side that lost at Sheffield United?" he reveals clearly hoping that the players and supporters can combine once more to produce another cocktail of success in that penultimate game against Bolton. "Thankfully it was the Everton one!

"As we drove into the ground, all we could see was claret and blue all over the place and although there had been offers to help the fans get up to Wigan, they would've come here anyway.

"Ever since I've been at this club, the fans have been the constant thing. We also took 6,000 supporters to Fulham, Villa and Arsenal and they're just fantastic. Whenever we give them something like we did against Everton and Wigan they get behind us but when we don't give them anything they certainly let us know! We accept that.

"It's vital to score the first goal in these games and once we did that, we looked quite strong and might even have got a few more. Luis Boa Morte can create a goal and he can pinch a goal, too, and he's shown that. Long may it continue.

"We wanted to grab our chance against Wigan and have some positive stuff coming out in the papers about us," continues Curbs after finally seeing the presses roll-out some good news following recent events down West Ham way. "Ever since I've been here we've had so much negative publicity both on and off the pitch and that's been par for the course.

"There's even one article that has just had a go at our January signings. Lucas Neill came in and got injured twice but he's now showing what he's all about, while Luis Boa Morte came into the club on the back of an injury. Calum Davenport has only just got back to fitness, while Matthew Upson and Nigel Quashie are both out, too.

"For one reason or another, the new signings haven't been given a chance but they're all good players and that holds us in good stead for whatever happens to us at the end of the season.

"In January, I tried to bring some experience to all the young talent that was already here at the club and, although it never materialised because none of them have managed to stay fit, we're still seeing the talent.

"Lucas Neill was our only new signing in the side that beat Everton but the players have still shown that there's a lot of ability here and now we've got to go out there and do ourselves justice in our final two games.

"We've given ourselves a chance, it's certainly not over, and we've proved that at Wigan."

by Steve Blowers