Tomkins feeling bubbly

James Tomkins has been working hard in training this week after a hugely successful performance last time out in the Barclays Premier League.

The England Under-21 defender has been on a high following his imperious turn in the goalless draw at Aston Villa last Sunday. He had a leading role in the rearguard action that denied a home side boasting the likes of Emile Heskey, Gabriel Agbonlahor, Ashley Young, James Milner, Stewart Downing and substitute John Carew.

Alongside central defensive partner Matthew Upson, Tomkins was a rock at the heart of the Hammers' back-four, winning header after header and making block after block to keep Martin O'Neill's side at bay.

Tomkins and his team-mates have now kept two clean sheets in their last three league games, taking their overall tally to four for the season. Portsmouth, Blackburn Rovers and Wolverhampton Wanderers provide the opposition in West Ham's next three fixtures and Tomkins sees no reason why the fine form cannot continue at Fratton Park on Tuesday.

"We've got a little rest now as we've not got a game this weekend," said Tomkins. "We can make the most of it and rest our legs ahead of what is obviously a big fixture against Portsmouth. We played them recently and we beat them, so we know what to expect.

"We'll go there full of confidence. It would be nice to win and if we can keep another clean sheet, we know we can't lose."

Last Sunday, captain Upson presented Tomkins with a bottle of champagne, but the 20-year-old shared the bubbly with the whole team.

"I was well pleased as overall it was a good performance from us," said the Academy graduate. "To go in at half-time at 0-0 and hold out for the draw was great, because we were under quite a lot of pressure. The way we played and defended was pleasing.

"Clean sheets haven't come along too regularly this season, so to get another one on the board was obviously good for our confidence levels. It was not just the back-four and goalkeeper who defended well, it was the whole team, really.

"I was told that it was between me and Matty, but I thought the whole back-four was brilliant and it was about the whole team. We all did our jobs. A couple of times when we had to make individual contributions and we all did so, so it went well."