Avram Boxing clever

Avram Grant insists his West Ham United team can bring some festive cheer to supporters by defeating Fulham on Boxing Day.

The Hammers manager and his players have overcome the inconveniences caused by the recent cold weather to prepare fully for their short trip across London to Craven Cottage.

An encouraging 1-1 draw at snowbound Blackburn Rovers last weekend has instilled confidence in the squad ahead of the match.

With Fulham sitting just three points above West Ham going into their Christmas date, Grant knows three points could further kick-start his side's campaign.

"I don't know if it will happen quickly. We have spoken with the players and we have analysed all of our games and if you look, in all of our games are against the teams in the ten places above us in the table, we were better in 80 per cent of those games.

"For the players, it is very frustrating. At Blackburn, we wanted the reward and wanted the three points. I think if we continue like this we can close the gap.

"It's very important and the players know it. We are speaking with them about this and want to continue being on top of the other teams and to take points."

Grant and his coaching staff staged their training sessions at the Boleyn Ground on Wednesday and Christmas Eve, while young Academy graduates Jordan Brown and Ahmed Abdulla were given the opportunity to work alongside the first-team squad.

"We moved to Upton Park for training because there was a little bit of a problem at the training ground with the winter weather, but the training is going well.

"The players are giving everything. They are trying and, in the games, I don't think one player is giving less than 100 per cent so they are giving everything. This is good because we need it now.

"It's part of our vision at the club to give young players opportunities. We wanted to do it when everything is more settled and we were not in a tough place in the league. We needed Ruud Boffin who is a young goalkeeper and is part of our future at Blackburn. He did very, very well and we were very happy with his performance.

"Junior Stanislas, of course, scored the goal and we have James Tomkins and others playing but the most important thing is that everybody will be fit. We are working hard for this because when everybody is fit, we are a good team."

While young players like the recalled Freddie Sears could play a big part in the club's future, Grant insisted that it was also up to the experienced professionals in his squad to lead from the front during the busy festive season.

"They have to do it. They have a responsibility and, more than this, they have the desire to do it. The team wants to succeed and wants to come off the bottom of the league. We are very close to doing it and I believe that we can do it."

Concentrating on Fulham in particular, Grant is looking forward to challenging Cottagers boss Mark Hughes who, like him, enjoyed a period in international management before moving to the Barclays Premier League.

"He came to a team which was very good last year - they were in the final of the UEFA Cup and had a very good season, so the players are more comfortable and believe in themselves.

"We are another team and we want to build ourselves for the future and I think we are doing the right things. We know what we want for ourselves and what the future of West Ham needs to look like and we will do the right things."