Kevin Keen said the West Ham United first-team squad are shaping up well for the return to league action this weekend and the chance of a fourth win in five games.
The caretaker manager has been hard at work with the rest of the coaching staff at Chadwell Heath preparing for Saturday's trip to West Bromwich Albion. Spirits are high with the players on the back of two consecutive 4-1 victories but no one is taking the opposition lightly. "We are working very hard this week to make sure we are ready for them," Keen said. "Their type of football is good passing and movement. It will be a good match-up and a good game."
Keen has been without a few regulars this week because of international duty but has relished seeing new recruits Walter Lopez, who has already appeared in a reserves friendly last month, and David Di Michele link up well with the rest of the squad. Both internationals are in contention for the weekend after settling into training while Herita Ilunga is also in the frame after coming back from World Cup duty with Congo DR.
"I have been really impressed this week with the attitude and the tempo in training and the football that has been played. Walter has done well. He likes to get forward from left-back and David is showing he will be the type of creative centre-forward that the crowd will enjoy watching.
"I have tried to make training upbeat and up-tempo. I want players to enjoy training and hopefully that is what has come over and we are looking forward to Saturday. The players want to keep our good start to the season going."
The positive mood has been helped by last season's breakthrough trio all coming through Tuesday's 4-0 reserve-team friendly win against Norwich City. James Tomkins and Jack Collison are back after medial knee ligament injuries and Freddie Sears underlined his progress with another goal. "That was James' first 90 minutes for us this season which is a massive boost. Hopefully he will have another reserve game on Monday and then be pushing for contention. Jack Collison played 60 minutes, which was also important."
Saturday will be too soon for the duo but whoever is selected will be fully focused on the task at hand. "People might look and say 'West Brom? they have only just come up' but I have watched videos and we are preparing properly and will make sure we give ourselves a good opportunity for a result," Keen said. "It is going to be tough. They had a good result at Bolton before the break and got a nil-nil. We know what to expect."