Sears seeks Rovers return

Freddie Sears is eager to face Blackburn Rovers on Saturday having made his first Barclays Premier League start for four months last weekend.

After enjoying 90 minutes against West Bromwich Albion, the England Under-20 international is hoping to start his second consecutive match. "Against West Brom I think I did well and I got round a bit, been busy and got on the ball," Sears said. "It's hard with me and David [Di Michele] both being the same sort of size but I think all we did was lack a goal, that was all we needed.

"It was good. I think we took a while to get going with a few new faces in the team but once we got going I think we did OK. We just needed a goal to push on."

The Hornchurch-based forward is hoping to draw on previous positive experiences against Blackburn, after scoring a memorable winner on his debut in March 2008 against the same opponents. After the West Brom match, however, Sears knows that it will not be an easy game.

"Going to Blackburn will be a difficult but if we can go there with the right attitude then we can get the three points that we need. We need that seventh place and it would be great to score against Blackburn again after the good memories last time."

With Carlton Cole suspended, Sears is hoping to retain his place up front to try to continue to build his form and fitness in the Premier League.

"It's a massive opportunity. With Coley suspended for two games you know there is a massive space there and I'm just working as hard as I can to stay in the space and keep the shirt. You've got to keep training hard and see where it takes you.

It is just a year and a few days since Sears' dramatic debut, but the 19-year-old already feels he is now much more of a rounded player after a nearly a full season training with the first team.

"I'm definitely a better player. Over the year you come on leaps and bounds training with the first team every game. They are so sharp it makes you a better player.

"It's been a bit on and off but I'm happy to get on the pitch at any time. Obviously it's frustrating sitting on the bench sometimes or going and not making the bench but I think just getting on the pitch and helping out the team makes me happy."

Like the rest of the squad, Sears is still confident the Hammers can achieve the results over the last nine games to remain in seventh spot in the league and secure a UEFA Europa League slot for next season.

"The aim is to finish seventh and that's we all think we can achieve. We think we can get a European spot and that would be a great achievement for the club."

Sears, along with James Tomkins, has just been named in the England Under-20 squad to play a friendly against Italy at Loftus Road at the end of the month and then with it is the possibility of a place at the FIFA U-20 World Cup taking place in Egypt later this year. The prospect of travelling to the finals to represent his country is one that excites Sears.

"It would be great to fly out there to play different countries every week and different nationalities. Playing for England at any level is a great achievement and it helps you as a player playing more games."