Curbs eyes up Trotters task

Alan Curbishley has spoken about the challenge posed by Bolton Wanderers this afternoon and his friendship with their departing manager Sam Allardyce.

"I spoke to Sam in the week," said Curbs. "He said he's been thinking about doing it for a while. I think he was looking forward to having a break and perhaps a holiday. I think he just wanted a bit of time off to think about himself for a while.
"I don't know if it's a good or a bad time to play them. It's Sammy Lee's first game in charge and they'll be trying to cement themselves for Europe. Both teams have a lot riding on it and I'm sure that'll make for an exciting game.

"But our work rate in recent games has been there for everyone to see. And it gives us something to get behind."

Curbs also expressed his thoughts on the West Ham United supporters - and the key role they'll be playing today.

"The atmosphere at Upton Park in the last four of five games has been fantastic," he said. "That has set the tempo for us and I'm sure it will be like that today.

"They did everyone proud last week at Wigan, espeically during the minute's applause to commemorate the life of Alan Ball. I was massively impressed with their response; it was really heartfelt.

"They inspire us one the pitch as well and, in recent times, results have bred confidence in the side and I hope we can continue that."

But, although the Hammers boss also believes a result today is important, he insists it isn't imperative.

"Oddly enough, this will be the third time I'll have been at Old Trafford for the final game of the season in the last four or five years," he said. "We have to go there and get a result, but Derby County did it a few years ago when they were in a similar position.

"Today's game isn't the be all and end all. If we get the win it will give us a big lift but there's still another game to be played."