Upson looking to Newcastle

The snowy conditions may have stopped many in their tracks on Monday, but it was business as usual for a trio of players returning from injury.

Despite it being a day off for the first-team squad following Saturday's FA Cup third-round 3-0 win against Barnsley, captain Lucas Neill, England defender Matthew Upson and midfielder Valon Behrami braved the arctic conditions to make the most of the chance to do some work ahead of returning to action. Welsh international Danny Gabbidon was also in as usual, as he continues his rehab work.

Upson - who has been laid low with a flu virus for the past week - was pounding the pitches at the club's Chadwell Heath training ground early on Monday morning as he looked to build up his strength ahead of the club's next match, an away trip to Newcastle United on Saturday. The game at St James' Park will see the club look to make it six games unbeaten on the road.

"I still feel a bit low, it takes it out of you a bit," said Upson, as he reflected on the virus that kept him out against Barnsley. "I have been running, so I just need to build my strength up now. We have four days before the match up at Newcastle, so I will be working hard to be ready for that."

As well as important Premier League matches coming up, Upson also spoke about the fourth round of the FA Cup which will see West Ham United travel to Hartlepool United over the weekend of 24/25 January.

"I think it is a good draw for us," he said. "It gives us a good opportunity to go through to the next round providing we turn up there and give a good account of ourselves. It will be a tough away day though, with the pitch and everything and they will be up for it, but we will be as well."

Upson said the FA Cup can be an extra boost alongside league form, even though that needs no lift after six points from six with wins against Portsmouth and Stoke City. The chance to dream of Wembley - a venue he knows well from his England experiences - has caught the imagination already.

"Without a doubt, the FA Cup is something you think about winning and playing in when you are young and becoming a footballer. It would be great to look back on and say you have played in a final and even better to say you have won it.  A good cup run enforces winning matches and we want to keep winning as much as we can."