Curbs ready for testing trio

Alan Curbishley is looking for West Ham United to make the most of a 'tough week' to get the club in as strong a position as possible.

Although unbeaten at home in six fixtures and with 40 points this season from 26 games - double the mark from the same amount of matches in the last campaign - Curbishley is well aware of the threat posed by a fully-fit Chelsea squad on Saturday. The derby contest is just the start of a tricky run that also sees trips to Liverpool on Wednesday and Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday week. "We have got a tough week coming up but we have got to win the majority of our games now to have any chance of catching the teams above us or doing better than that."

Whatever happens, West Ham United will still be at the very least in tenth place come the final whistle at White Hart Lane on 9 March. From that point on, the club will have nine games left and Curbishley will be reminding his players of the seven wins achieved last season from that run of games at the end of 2006/07. Unlike last year's survival fight, this time around the club are pushing the likes of Blackburn Rovers, Portsmouth and Manchester City hard for a European spot.

Curbishley said: "We have got to win the majority of our games. We had an opportunity over the last couple of weeks to perhaps attack Blackburn and Portsmouth and we have only taken four points out of nine and they have managed to pick up as many or more and they were the two teams we were looking to try and chase. The week before that we had Man City which we should have won and we could have perhaps made a dent on them as well.

"It is all there though. I look at last year's incredible run, seven wins out of nine. You can't imagine doing that let alone [that we did it while] being down the bottom but we do need to win a majority of our games for us to have a chance of threatening sixth spot. The way the league has panned out we are in a bit of a hole in the middle. We have needed with the last three games to take a majority of the points to put pressure on the teams above us so we have got to do that now."