Ephraim ready and willing

Hogan Ephraim is back in the swing of things at West Ham United and hoping to get the chance to shine in the Premier League.

The 19-year-old Academy graduate has returned to the club after three months on loan at Queen's Park Rangers, where he made 13 appearances and scored two goals for the Championship outfit. Eight of those were starts as Ephraim slowly established himself from bit-part player to regular at Loftus Road, providing key contributions as the club turned around a poor start to the season.

Back at the Boleyn Ground and training hard, Ephraim has designs on showing manager Alan Curbishley what he can do - having already caught the eye with a goal in a pre-season friendly at MK Dons last July. "The manager has not really seen a lot of me because when he came last year I was [on loan] at Colchester," he said. "I am not sure if he has seen much of me at QPR but I will just do my best in training and whatever will happen, will happen."

An England youth international, Ephraim settled in quickly to life in west London and also discovered he had made a lasting impression on Colchester United, the club he served on a similar temporary basis last season. "I scored on my return to Colchester which was nice. I got a good reception from their fans when I scored. That was a bit surprising but I was glad with how it went. I was feeling good in front of goal and in general."

At Colchester and QPR, Ephraim was mainly used in a wide left position although he did get some opportunities of late in a more familiar forward role. "I was just happy to play wherever really," he said. "The boys made me feel very welcome which made it very easy. The main thing about it was to get first-team opportunities - to go there and get some games and enjoy it. I certainly did that."

Despite being focused on the task at hand, Ephraim admitted his thoughts had turned back to West Ham United and the way the squad had come through a difficult patch with flying colours. "No one would have guessed how many people would have got injured but the boys have coped well with it and got some good results," he said. "They are doing decently in the league. I am sure the manager would like to push on now over the next few weeks."

Naturally, Ephraim, who travelled with the squad for Saturday's 5-0 win at Derby County, will hope to have a part to play, although he knows there is plenty of competition with the likes of Matthew Etherington, Luis Boa Morte and Kyel Reid all showing up well in that wide left role this campaign. "I am at the age now where I am desperate to play first-team football," he said.

"With playing regularly last season and at the start of this season that is all I want now and hopefully that will happen at West Ham. I feel I am ready for it and hopefully the manager will give me a chance. I just want to get my head down. I will do my best and hopefully that will be enough."