Another forward step for Faubert

Slowly but surely Julien Faubert is easing his way into contention for a starting place at West Ham United.

The 24-year-old France winger was given just under half-an-hour to shine at Manchester City last night after his cameo appearance in Saturday's 2-1 home league win against Fulham. Faubert was unable to do anything about City's winning goal that came ten minutes after his arrival as a substitute for Freddie Ljungberg but showed flashes of the electric pace that first saw him come to prominence at Bordeaux.

One such burst saw him race away from Dietmar Hamann only for the German midfielder to pull him back, earning a caution in the process. Faubert admitted it was difficult for him to adjust to the pace of the contest, which picked up markedly after the hour mark. "The first five minutes it was hard for me and hard for my body but after that I got used to it and it felt good.

"I know that in English football, they play very quickly and I haven't played a game for six months - but I am all right now. I feel good in my health." Faubert added he was pleased to have been given the chance to make an instant impact with the club since returning from his rehabilitation in the south of France. "When I came back I didn't know when I would be playing but now I am very confident. I have played more and I feel good. I just have to work on my endurance fitness now."

The summer signing is relishing the chance to return to the City of Manchester Stadium for another televised fixture this weekend - especially as "we were the better team". He added: "It was a very hard game and we tried our best to score. When we play again here in the Premier League, it will be very important and we will try to win when we come back on Sunday.

"We have a better idea of how they play. I hope we win. The whole team is very competitive, and we don't like to lose," he added, showing he has already grasped the spirit within the squad as well his understanding of the pace and power that characterises the English game. A few days rest and he will be all set to go again, claiming simply. "If I start, I am ready. If I am on the bench, I am ready."