Nouble biding his time

Frank Nouble has spoken about his progress at West Ham United ahead of the FA Cup meeting with Arsenal at the Boleyn Ground.

The 18-year-old striker is finding his feet after joining from Chelsea in the summer but has done well to date. He is still eligible for the FA Youth Cup and well aware he has time on his side but, with key players missing including Carlton Cole, Guille Franco and Zavon Hines, is hopeful of getting a chance to shine sooner rather than later.

"I am eager to play," he said. "I am getting experience by training with the first team and watching but I want to get experience by playing longer in matches. The manager has always been giving me good feedback from training sessions, saying I have done well throughout the year.

"I have played a few reserve games with some good performances and goals as well. I just have to wait my turn but I want to show what I can do."

Nouble was coveted by many clubs last summer but the England Under-19 forward has no doubts he made the right choice in heading east from west London. "The manager has been really good to me. He is very open and good to talk to. His opinion obviously counts for a lot and as a former striker he has been in the situations we face. He can relate to you really well.

"Steve Clarke and Kevin Keen are also very encouraging to young players and there is a great environment here for us. The staff have been brilliant to me. They are trying to let me have time to develop but at the same time they know I am eager to play."

Nouble has made six league and cup appearances to date but all have come off the bench. He is hopeful of getting his first start or an extended run-out before too long. "It is tough to come on with a few minutes to play. You might be trying to defend a lead, or if you are winning you are sitting back so you are not going to get too many touches.

"Against Millwall in the Carling Cup I got nearly an hour and it was good. The first ten minutes I hardly touched the ball but after that I was involved in the play. If I can get a half maybe I will be able to show what I can do."

Arsenal are very much in the title race but the Gunners may well rest players when they arrive at the Boleyn Ground. Nouble though will not be focusing on the opposition should he get the nod.

"I couldn't care less who Arsenal put out. It is just a case of me showing the best of what I can do and play for the team. We shouldn't worry about who will face. Sunday is a big game and we have to start winning matches. Everyone is working really hard for that."