Lee Bowyer is enjoying giving his all as West Ham United look to extend their unbeaten run to four matches in all competitions on Sunday.
Speaking before the league visit of Bolton Wanderers, the midfielder reflected on the tricky midweek cup tie at Coventry City that left he and his team-mates having to grind their way to a hard-fought 2-1 victory. "I think we showed a bit of character," Bowyer said. "It was a battle. The ball seemed to be in the air a long time. The main thing in these competitions is to get into the next round. We've done that. We can't really grumble."
Bowyer is renowned for his all-action style and it was clear for all to see on Tuesday that his exertions had taken their toll as West Ham United stepped up a gear in the latter stages. "I got cramp in the end so I was struggling for the last ten minutes," he said. "I've had a cold as well for a few days so I think I may have been a bit dehydrated and not realised."
Despite missing out through injury against Portsmouth last Saturday, he is eager to take on Bolton in a match which could prove equally competitive given the north-west club's lowly league ranking. "I've got until Sunday, so it's a long enough time to recover," said Bowyer, who has already made a significant impact this season at the Boleyn Ground with two goals in five league games.
The 30-year-old has plenty of experience and is well-placed to assess the progress of those around him, not least the younger players coming through. He was particularly impressed by versatile 21-year-old Jonathan Spector who came on against Coventry. "He did exceptionally well in midfield, taking into account that he's a full-back. I think he looked really comfortable in there. He battled really well and covered when we broke to stop them from breaking."
Bowyer was also happy to have his say about Carlton Cole who has led the West Ham United attack to great effect in recent weeks. "I'm happy for Coley. I felt sorry for him when he was getting a bit of stick," he said of the 23-year-old. "He's a lovely lad so I said to him: 'get your head down, keep working hard and the other stuff will come'. That's what's happening at the moment for him so I'm really pleased."