Captain's Blog - A Massive week

The skipper looks back to the 1-0 win at Fulham and ahead to the visit this weekend of Chelsea. He also has words for talented youngsters James Tomkins, Jack Collison and Freddie Sears along with mention of a very special cause.

Another gritty and determined performance saw us rewarded with a late goal and a crucial three points at Craven Cottage last week. It is never a pretty or easy game against a team fighting for survival and as a result games often become scrappy but winning is about mental strength which this squad has plenty of after what it has gone through over the last 12 months.

Special mentions must go to Carlton Cole for another enthusiastic and hardworking performance where the only thing missing was a goal. Mark Noble who put in another mature performance, Greeny for a quiet afternoon but a very crucial save when the game was locked at 0-0 and a very happy Luis Boa Morte completing a double over his former team.

It was told to me this week that on February 27th 2007 we were 19th on 20 points with ten games to go minus 28 goals and no away wins - how times have changed! And the progress made is a compliment to everybody at West Ham United on and off the field and I of course include the supporters in that. But our work is not done and we still have a goal to achieve which is qualification for Europe. Like last year, we need the fans to create that electric atmosphere that inspired us to seven out of nine wins last season.

This is a massive week for the club and the games don't come any tougher. However, with a great atmosphere being generated in the stands I am quietly confident that a victory against our London rivals is very achievable. We welcome Chelsea's staff, fans and players to the Boleyn Ground who will all be hurting but looking to get back to winning ways after the disappointment of losing the Carling Cup final (to another one of our rivals!).

Also this week we will be travelling away to Liverpool, another difficult hurdle, but I am hoping Saturday's result against Chelsea and our away form this season could see us picking up vital points in a match that is considered our catch-up game.

The squad is getting healthier, Scotty Parker is in full training, Bobby Zamora has three reserve games under his belt, Julien Faubert's fitness is improving everyday and Kieron Dyer is not far off full training. The sudden emergence of young Freddie Sears could give the manager and the squad some extra firepower with our push for Europe. He has really impressed everyone in the squad the last couple of weeks and is scoring goals in reserve games. Like Jack and Tomka he is training and playing without fear and full of energy and confidence.

This Saturday's match has been dedicated to the Richard House Hospice - one of our club charities this season. I urge all our fans to give generously to the collections being made on the day and to join the big text appeal where we are asking all supporters to donate just £1 by texting the word RICHARD to 82085. It is a very worthy charity that is seriously lacking in funding and every penny will help. I know both Nobes and Anton visited the hospice earlier this season which is a stone's throw from the ground and were totally overwhelmed by what they saw and how hard the staff work so, like you show your fantastic support for us every week, please show similar support for the hospice too.

I thank you in advance for your generosity and of course your support this weekend and away at Liverpool on Wednesday.

Lucas Neill signature

Lucas Neill