Curbs expects better on Saturday

Alan Curbishley knows the only way to get over the disappointments of the past fortnight is to recapture the spirited displays that have characterised the rest of the season.

Blackburn Rovers have not won at the Boleyn Ground in their last 12 visits, with their most recent success coming back on 27 April 1994. Mark Hughes' men are determined to end that run - especially as the club are riding high in seventh and pushing for a European place. That in itself reminds how far West Ham United have progressed this season, as a return to winning ways on Saturday would move the home side to within three points of their visitors.

"When you're talking about losing three games 4-0 then you need to bounce back," said the manager. "Blackburn are the sort of side that will come and make it very difficult for us .... We knew when we came into March that we had a tough set of games but we need to bounce back and we will be trying our hardest. When you look at the side for whatever deficiencies they may have, they do put their lot in most weeks and they certainly have to do that this week."


It remains to be seen whether Matthew Upson will be back but in attack Bobby Zamora and Dean Ashton will hope to continue the strike partnership that had looked bright in patches in the first half at Tottenham Hotspur last Sunday. Curbishley said: "You do need the experience when you've had the run of results that we've had. We've been criticised [this season] for being defensive-minded but that all went out the window in the last week with those results. So we've got a few things that we've got to get right and scoring is one part of it."

Curbishley said there was determination within the ranks to put things right, acknowledging that the fans have been "entitled to have their say because they're the ones who support us throughout". He added: "The players are looking to turn it around. We've let ourselves down. We've let a lot of people down.. But we're the only ones who can turn it around. It was a dreadful week ... We know there's only one way that that's going to happen and that's with us doing it."

The manager rejected the notion that he was happy to settle for 40 points and mid-table security. "I see us as a top eight team and trying to push on better than that," he said, before adding that he expects to see some more of his injured players to go with the likes of the fit-again Scott Parker before the end of the season. "I'm hoping that I get most of them fit before the end of the season so I know where we're going pre-season."

The last three results have allowed the likes of Blackburn, Portsmouth and Manchester City to stay ahead of Curbishley's tenth-placed side but there is still plenty of points to play for. "We're still only a win away from getting near them again," the manager said. "If we get the result on Saturday and it doesn't quite go well for Man City or one or two of the others we're still in with a shout. We're tenth. A couple of results can get us high up on the table ... we're trying to do better, we want to do better."