Grant glad to be home

Avram Grant is relishing the prospect of walking out at the Boleyn Ground as manager on Saturday against RC Deportivo La Coruna after a busy summer schedule away from home.

The manager has enjoyed a successful pre-season but said coming to play in front of the Hammers fans would be a step forward. He will have the chance to show off some of his new recruits Thomas Hitzlsperger, Tal Ben Haim, Pablo Barrera, Frederic Piquionne and Winston Reid and combine them with England quartet Robert Green, Matthew Upson, Scott Parker and Carlton Cole.

"We have played enough away," Grant said after six games unbeaten away from east London, five of them wins. "I want to play in our home and to feel our supporters and our atmosphere because they will be very important for us.

"We are on the right way. The players know what we want from them. They know how to do it. Of course we have only had four weeks of preparation but by the beginning of the season we want to be better and we will be better.

"I think the players' attitudes are very good. They want to succeed and are giving everything in training to be better. For a first step, it is good."


Grant has learnt much about his players since the majority reported back for duty on 5 July and admitted he did not expect the schedule to include the positives of conceding just two goals in six unbeaten games and going to Germany and beating strong opposition like VfL Borussia Monchengladbach and UEFA Champions League contenders Panathinaikos.

"It's very difficult to get five wins even in training so I am pleased because the name of the game is to win games. I think the winning [mentality] is here and we need to follow this path to bring us more wins.

"We are going into a long season with good days and bad days and it's important that the players learn how to behave on good days and not so good days."

Everything has been planned and primed with next Saturday's trip to Aston Villa in mind, when the likes of Herita Ilunga, Danny Gabbidon and Kieron Dyer will hope to show they have timed their comeback from long lay-offs to perfection. Grant said although there was the determination to beat Depor, the main focus was to hone the work on the practice pitches.

"These games are not the target - the target is the league. We will do something that will put us in good shape for the beginning of the season. We will follow our programme and will be ready for this."