Captain's Blog - Derby day again

In his latest exclusive column for, Lucas Neill has plenty of praise for Robert Green, is delighted to see Scott Parker and Dean Ashton back and also has high hopes for Carlton Cole. He begins though with the visit of Jermain Defoe and Tottenham Hotspur, and finishes up looking forward to the trip to Chelsea.

As we all expected it was a fantastic atmosphere for the local derby, a game which on chances I felt we could have won but at the death should have lost. Yet again Greenie produced a last-minute penalty save that got us a point that was well deserved after another good team performance.

As far as derbies go, I didn't think it was a physical encounter so to find out after the game that we had committed 37 fouls to their eight has left all the players a little bit shocked and disappointed. When the ref blew for the penalty at the end of the match, I seriously thought he had blown for a dive which would have meant Defoe would have been sent off for a second yellow but I guess the West Ham fans had the last laugh when one of their old boys was the victim of Greenie's heroics.

It was good to see Scotty and Deano getting some much needed game time for both the Spurs match and a run-out for the reserves on Monday. Competition for places is getting stronger and, with a few more experienced players regaining fitness, December could see the gaffer picking from his strongest possible squad so far.

The boys are all continuing to work hard to rectify mistakes and situations that are happening in games. In a number of games now we have dominated certain periods and failed to reward our good play. I think we have left points out on the pitch because of our failure to kill teams off and it is something we are concentrating hard on to rectify.

This week probably sees our toughest game yet. Before the game you would take a point but we will be going there in decent form and hoping to cause the upset of the weekend. Chelsea have been travelling midweek in difficult conditions and as a result if we start fast we could catch them cold.

I am expecting another raucous atmosphere as it is another London derby. Thank you in advance to all those that brave the cold weather to support the team live when you could be at home in the warmth watching it on the box.

Coley comes up against his former club on Saturday and it happens to be the first time he has played them at Stamford Bridge since he left. He has worked ever so hard for the team of late and is getting goals to reward his performances - so let's hope it is a day for him and us to remember.

Enjoy the game!

Lucas Neill signature

Lucas Neill