Etherington going for goals

Matthew Etherington is relishing being back in the scoring groove and playing his part in the "good atmosphere" at West Ham United.

The 26-year-old left winger has particularly enjoyed his away days this season, with a double strike against Reading in a 3-0 victory on 1 September and then adding to his tally with the second in the 5-0 defeat of Derby County last Saturday. His three goals from just eleven league appearances this campaign is a significant improvement on last season when he went 27 matches without finding the net.

"It was nice to get another goal," Etherington told WHUTV. "We are getting good results away from home and hopefully I will get more goals." That impressive travelling form, with a 1-0 victory at Birmingham City back in August the other success on the road, has left West Ham United with a plus six goal difference away from east London - the best record of all 20 Premier League clubs. 

Etherington, who is heading back to the form that saw him win the 2003/04 Hammer of the Year in his first season at the Boleyn Ground, added: "We didn't go to Derby expecting to win 5-0 but I thought we played very well and thoroughly deserved it. We played some great stuff and hit the bar a couple of times - and it probably could have been more in the end.

"We have got top players out at the moment and for the players that have come in to put in a performance like that shows what a squad we have got here and what sort of character the lads have. It was never going to be an easy game and the lads who have played have dug in. Some of them have not played all season but they have come in and showed the right attitude. They have done really well. It just goes to show what a good atmosphere we have got at the club now."

With tough trips to Chelsea and Blackburn Rovers to come next month after the small matter of a home fixture against Etherington's former employers Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday week, Etherington knows the club's passionate travelling support will have to play their part again. "The fans were unbelievable [against Derby]. We took so many it was frightening."

As well as recognising the contribution of the famed 'twelfth man', Etherington found time to praise midfield team-mate Lee Bowyer, who set up his goal on Saturday as well as scoring two himself. "Bow has done brilliant," he said. "He is back to his best form and has done really well. He is popping up in the box and scoring goals regularly like he used to at Leeds. If you are getting goals from midfield it helps the team." No one knows that better than Etherington himself.

Log on to the WHUTV Exclusive channel now to see Etherington's interview in full, while you can also hear all the post-match thoughts from Alan Curbishley, Lee Bowyer and Carlton Cole - along with all the highlights from Pride Park.