John Pantsil is relishing the chance to take on Manchester United at Old Trafford this Saturday having enjoyed two consecutive appearances at right-back.
The Ghana defender had not played two full games in a row for the club since August 2006 until playing his part in the 2-1 win against Derby County and the 2-2 draw against Newcastle United. More used to being a substitute as a valued squad member, it was off the bench as a 49th-minute replacement back on 30 December that Pantsil helped energise the team to a 2-1 home win against Manchester United. Naturally, he is eager to take on Sir Alex Ferguson's Champions League finalists again.
Pantsil, who has played in a 2006 World Cup round of 16 match against Brazil in front of 80,000 fans in Dortmund, said: "I love playing in the big stadiums and with the big atmosphere. That brings out the best in me. We are looking forward to playing at Old Trafford. We don't want to go down to eleventh or 12th in the league, so every game left is important for the club. We are going to Old Trafford to do everything possible to get a point or even three points."
The popular 26-year-old defender's opportunities in recent weeks have come about with Lucas Neill deputising in the centre of the defence and the full-back's standing among the supporters has been increased with his whole-hearted displays and appetite for a crunching tackle. "I am happy I have been playing," he added. "The crowd has been fantastic and really encouraged me to keep going. It is marvellous to be able play for these fans, they support us in everything we do.
"I have to do everything possible to do my best when I play for the club. It is all for the team-mates and the fans. Next season is going to be even better for West Ham United. We are going to challenge the big teams. With the crowd behind us we are always going to have confidence, and with every game we can't wait to see them in the stands."