Ferdinand fired up for Fulham

Anton Ferdinand cannot wait to get back in action for West Ham United when they go to Fulham this coming Saturday.

The in-form defender scored the winning goal in spectacular fashion when the two sides met in a keenly-fought contest at the Boleyn Ground last month and, after a weekend off, he is eager to take to the field again. "I can't wait to get back to playing," he said. "The game on Saturday is what you train all week for."

Despite his hunger, the free weekend just gone has meant a welcome chance for the squad to "recharge" and Ferdinand expects the return to business at the training ground will see everyone "firing on all cylinders". As was shown in the 2-1 win against Fulham on 12 January, it will be another tricky encounter - not least because the club are once again up against a team fighting for top-flight status.

"Every game in the Premier League is tough," he said, mindful as well of the disappointing last two outings against Wigan Athletic and Birmingham City. "There is not an easy game in this division." Reflecting specifically on the 1-1 home draw with Birmingham, Ferdinand was aware the team did not do enough in the attacking third to claim the three points. "That is just the way football is sometimes you know," he added.

That said, the centre-back is confident the defensive base is still there for the team to push on. "As long as we as a backline keep doing our job, we have a chance. That is what we get paid to do and that is what we have got to do." The rearguard will be confident of standing firm at Craven Cottage having seen only ten goals conceded on the club's league travels this season, a mark bettered by only Manchester United, Chelsea and Liverpool.

Ferdinand is certainly expecting another memorable afternoon, at least in terms of the travelling support. "The away fans are quality you know. It is a London derby, which is always enjoyable. The atmosphere is always good and they are definitely games that I personally look forward to. There is always going to be a crunching tackle or something to set it off."

Having turned 23 yesterday, Ferdinand is happy when in the spotlight on the football pitch and with the weight of expectancy on his shoulders. "The big atmosphere is when I can show what I can do," he added. "All I want to do is keep turning in performances for West Ham United and hopefully I will keep on doing that."

If he maintains his club form, he may also find himself getting the chance to follow Matthew Upson into the international fold. "It is definitely in my mind. I am too old to play for the Under-21s now. The next step is the senior squad but all I can do is turn in performances for West Ham and that is what I am going to continue to do. I am just going to concentrate on doing that. If I do get the call, then great. If I don't, then so be it."