Behrami up for cup

Valon Behrami is banking on the FA Cup providing an extra stimulus for West Ham United's push up the Barclays Premier League standings in 2010.

The Switzerland midfielder has fond memories of the competition, having scored his last goal in claret and blue in the fourth-round tie at Hartlepool United last January. Raring to go after overcoming minor knee surgery, the 24-year-old should line up in midfield against high-flying Arsenal in the third round this Sunday.

"It is nice to play in the FA Cup - because it is a different atmosphere," he said. "It will be a tough game but we are at home, we will play as a team and we can get a good result."

He added that the match would be a welcome chance for himself and others to get more match fitness under their belts, with a number of major league encounters to follow later in the month. "A cup run can help with our league form. It will be a mental boost as well - definitely. But the most important thing is the condition of players, getting injured players back.

"It has been difficult of late, but I think with all our players back, we can match any team in the Premier League in matches. We saw this especially in the last two games, we have played like a team, which is the most important thing. We probably need just a bit extra, which we will get when we get players back."

Behrami is glad to see the back of 2009 after being troubled by injury. First was the cruciate knee ligament problem he suffered on 1 March, before having to have a small cartilage issue sorted out towards the end of the year. As well as the club's ambitions, he has the small matter of the 2010 FIFA World Cup to look forward to in the summer.

"It has been frustrating - it has been up and down for me with the injury since coming back. But now the knee feels good. I want to get some games together now and I hope that the next year will be better for me and West Ham with lots of positive things for us."