Hammers spirit not dampened

West Ham United have continued their preparations for the 2009/10 Barclays Premier League season although there was the setback of the match with German giants Werder Bremen being called off on Saturday

Gianfranco Zola's side had originally been due to travel 50km from their base to take on the German Cup holders in Bad Waltersdorf before extreme weather conditions in eastern Austria led to the pitch being unplayable. Instead the squad had an extra training session on Saturday evening.

Several senior first-team players had been set to get their first taste of pre-season match action after only joining up with the squad on Monday following games with their national teams in June. Luis Boa Morte is ready for his first club outing this summer along with England trio Robert Green, Matthew Upson and Carlton Cole.

New signing Luis Jimenez was also hoping to get his first taste of action in a West Ham shirt, although Scott Parker had not been expected to play after only three days of training this week. First-team coach Steve Clarke had spoken of the significance of the summer schedule in Austria - with games to come against Bursaspor on Wednesday and then at Slovenian side ND Mura 05 on Thursday.

"These games are about getting the team to start to work together, play together and how they respond to everything," Clarke said. "Results are still important, as you don't want to lose, but all these games we play are for when the real thing starts in August."

After five days of glorious sunshine the weather at the training headquarters in Bad Radkersburg was finally broken with dramatic thunderstorms and rain. But the change in conditions this weekend does not seem to have affected the mood in the camp. Clarke added: "They have been working very well, had a good week now of it."

As well as ensuring the players' fitness is up to the test of a long, hard season in England's top flight, Clarke lays equal importance to the desire to return to the UK with no new injury problems.

"If you don't get any knocks during a pre-season, then none of us are doing our jobs properly. I think everyone would say they have a little knock or an ache somewhere but by and large, no big injuries, which is what we want to keep going.

"These games we are playing are all for preparing for the new season ahead, so getting fitness is the key and of course, touch wood, getting no injuries."