'These are big games'

Robert Green and Mark Noble have both stressed the importance of picking up positive results from the next three Barclays Premier League fixtures.

West Ham United visit Portsmouth on Tuesday, then play host to Blackburn Rovers on Saturday before travelling to Burnley a week later, with goalkeeper Green and midfielder Noble targeting victories.

A nine-point haul would undoubtedly lift the Hammers into mid-table, while also denying vital points to three clubs in and around them in the standings.

"These are big games," said Green, who celebrated his 30th birthday with a fine performance in the goalless draw at Aston Villa last time out. "Since the Chelsea game [a 1-1 draw on 20 December], besides the Spurs match, we've improved. The commitment and drive that all the lads have shown and the freedom they have played with has been good. We need to continue that improvement."

Noble also played a full part in the gutsy defensive display at Villa Park, filling in as a holding midfielder when Scott Parker and Radoslav Kovac were both withdrawn by manager Gianfranco Zola.

The 22-year-old is the Hammers' longest-serving player, and is desperate to help his club to climb away from the relegation zone.

"At the end of the day, we need to win these games," said Noble, with trademark determination. "We've got three games and we need to win them. If we do, then I'm sure we'll be fine."