Tomkins targets Tottenham

James Tomkins has said everyone in the squad is relishing the opportunity to take on Tottenham Hotspur this weekend in the club's push for Europe.

The 20-year-old boyhood Hammers fan completed an important 2-0 victory against Sunderland last Saturday with his first goal for the club. The win lifted West Ham into seventh place and left the club in with a strong chance of qualifying for next season's UEFA Europa League. It also moved them six points clear of this weekend's opponents Spurs with just seven games to go.

"It's a massive game for the club," Tomkins said. "We are pushing for that UEFA spot and it's a massive game for the fans as they are our local rivals.

"There's a great confidence in the team at the moment and a good team spirit as it has been all season. It's good at the moment and everyone is just enjoying their football. Seventh is the aim. We've got a target there that we are heading towards. Each game is vital now that we pick as many points up as we can. Next game is Tottenham, which we are all relishing."

While he was delighted to get his name on the senior scoresheet for the first time in his rapidly flourishing career, Tomkins insisted the team's success was more important than his own individual achievements.

"It was a feeling I'll never forget. It's something you dream about as a kid and I'm never going to forget it. I've been here since I was eight so it was massive to score a goal, but the three points was even more important. It's a feeling that you can't really describe. It's such a buzz. I've been dreaming about that moment for a long time.

"Obviously myself and Junior scored but the most important thing was the three points. We are chasing seventh spot and that's what we're aiming for."

Tomkins is one of eight Academy graduates to play for the first team this season alongside Mark Noble, Jack Collison, Junior Stanislas, Kyel Reid, Zavon Hines, Josh Payne and Freddie Sears, and the England Under-20 defender believes it will not be long before that list grows even longer. Marek Stech and Bondz 'Gala have both been on the bench and are close to a call.

"We've had a lot of vital players who have been injured so it is a chance for youngsters to impress. There are more coming through, Josh and Junior, there are a lot of good youngsters here at the club and a good backroom staff that are helping us through."

While he is keeping one eye on his fellow youngsters' development, Tomkins remains fully focused on keeping his own place in Gianfranco Zola's team - no mean feat considering Wales international James Collins was on the substitutes bench against Sunderland.

"I feel that I'm playing well at the moment and growing more confident with every game. It was a great boost for me to start in front of James because he's played well all season. I have been getting a good run in the team and I'm full of confidence and just want to keep improving."