Kieron timing it right

Kieron Dyer had plenty of reasons to be happy after enjoying a productive 60 minutes in Saturday's 1-0 pre-season friendly victory at Ipswich Town.

The West Ham United player began his career with the Tractor Boys, making more than 100 first-team appearances for the club between 1996 and 1999.

Dyer received a superb reception on his latest return to Portman Road, starting the match on the right of a three-man midfield before Matthew Upson's enforced substitution saw him switch to right-back.

After enduring four seasons of frustration and injury setbacks, Dyer is hoping to finally get the chance to show Hammers supporters exactly why he is such a hero at the Suffolk club - starting with the Barclays Premier League opener at Aston Villa on 14 August.

"It's been a long time since I played an hour but it's petrol in the tank, as they say," he told WHUTV. "We've got another game on Tuesday and one on Saturday, so hopefully I'll get 90 minutes in one of those games and it will set me up for Villa.

"I've been back to Ipswich a few times since I've left and it's a great family club. They always treat their ex-players with respect and with a great ovation and it was the same on Saturday and I really appreciated it.

"I was really stiff towards the end but we've had a really difficult training week and you could see from our performance that everyone was very tired and nobody really had any explosive pace. Ipswich gave us a good test. We're all aiming for 14 August and it's going really well."

Although he is best known for his speedy wingplay further up the pitch, Dyer has turned out at right-back for Ipswich, Newcastle United and England, showing his versatility and willingness to put team before individual.

"That was my fifth position in pre-season so it's good! I've said I will play anywhere and I'm obviously a versatile player and with Matty Upson coming off early I dropped back into right-back and I quite enjoyed it actually! I started my Ipswich career at right-back when Gus Uhlenbeek got injured so I know the position quite well and I really enjoyed it."

Saturday's victory made it five consecutive successes for Avram Grant's squad and, while Dyer admitted the Hammers had not been at their best at his former stomping ground, he thinks things are moving in the right direction ahead of the new campaign.

"The fans who were there on Saturday should not read too much into the performance because this past week in training has been really hard, as I said. We were below-par but the manager and the coaching staff expected it. We are going to be tapering off training in the next couple of weeks so we'll be sharper coming into matches and you'll get a better indication of where we are."