Curbs contemplates busy month

Alan Curbishley is looking for "a decent December" so that his West Ham United continue to look upwards come the new year.

The month starts with a tricky trip to Chelsea on Saturday although Curbishley, who was talking exclusively to WHUTV, has positive memories of his last two trips to Stamford Bridge. In his final season at Charlton Athletic in the 2005/06 campaign, his former club drew 1-1 in the league having already earned the same result in the League Cup third round before knocking out the then champions 5-4 on penalties.

"In some respect you go into the game with not a lot to lose," said Curbishley, who will have taken a close interest in the west London club's 4-0 win at Rosenborg in the Champions League on Wednesday night. "It is a local derby and you know the top four are always tough games. I am looking forward to it.

"When you play the top four teams, there are things that you have got to deal with and certain players that can win games. For me you have to do a job on Frank Lampard. He is a player that scores a lot of match-winning goals from midfield. That is something that I have got to be thinking about."

Between the 1 December and 1 January trips to Chelsea and Arsenal respectively, the club have got eight first-team games lined up - including a cup quarter-final against Everton and the visit of Manchester United. Much has been made of Curbishley's strength in depth that has led to a six-match unbeaten run despite injuries, and Curbishley is expecting to make the most of his squad again.

"Certainly there will be some rotation in this month," he said. "We have got some big games. We have got the Carling Cup game as well, which is a massive game for everybody." Hoping to figure this weekend will be Lee Bowyer and Freddie Ljungberg, adding to last Sunday's return of Hayden Mullins, Mark Noble, Scott Parker and Dean Ashton. "I am pleased I have got players coming back. It may give me one or two problems as I know, but they have just to get on with it."

Regardless of who is selected, Curbishley has no qualms about what he will see as he looks to move up from tenth position. "Whatever eleven goes out I expect a result and a performance," he said. "I have nearly been here a year now and the attitude has turned round - which is general when a new man goes in. The atmosphere, the feeling and the spirit within the camp is perhaps a lot better than when I arrived

"I am hoping that we have a decent December and we push on in the new year. I just get the feeling that with all the changes and people being given a chance that there is a bit of attitude about the place. We are committed as a team - the eleven players and the subs. You can see that before the games. They are wishing each other the best and saying 'let's get out there and get a result'. That is something I wanted to generate here and let's hope that continues."

  • Log on to WHUTV to see the manager's interview in full, including updates on the latest injury situation. WHUTV also features Tony Gale's pre-Chelsea thoughts while on Friday you can log on to see the thoughts of Ray Winstone about playing Chelsea.