Noble endeavour pays off

Mark Noble is relishing another central midfield battle against Blackburn Rovers on Saturday after a star turn in the midweek point at Portsmouth.

The 22-year-old impressed at Fratton Park on Tuesday in his preferred deep-lying role at the heart of the Hammers play, breaking up home attack after home attack and keeping the passing game ticking over. Noble would relish the chance to do the same again this weekend but is just happy to get the chance to shine a successful side.


"I really enjoyed playing in that role," he said. "That is the normal position that I like to play in but I have to fully understand that it is not about me. It is about the team. I really enjoyed playing there though and hopefully we can repeat that on Saturday.

"Portsmouth is never an easy place to go to, especially at night. It is quite a dark place and the pitch wasn't the best. It was a difficult moment for them, they are fighting for their lives and so are we. It was always going to be a tough game. I thought we played well and deserved to win but it wasn't to be."

The former England Under-21 captain described the visit of Blackburn as "really important" to the hopes of pushing up the table, adding: "All the games now are cup finals. They are massive for us. We have to go out there as a team and perform."

He added that talk of new arrivals had galvanised the squad, with competition for places in all areas a necessity in any squad. "Hopefully we will get a couple of goalscorers and we can put games to bed instead of trying to hold out for 1-0 wins.

"We wanted to win the game. We didn't go there to get a point, we went to win and we looked like we were going to do that obviously until they scored. We had a few good chances that if we put away we would have gone on to win the game comfortably.

"We never did that. But then again if we get three points on Saturday it will look like a good draw for us."

Central to those chances is the whole team taking on scoring responsibilities, as summed up by captain Matthew Upson's goal at Portsmouth. "We need all of us to chip in goals. Hopefully we can really start scoring some goals and getting some points on the board.

"On Tuesday, their keeper made some unbelievable saves and we were unlucky not to go in two or three-nil up. You have to put behind you. We are not getting beat. We are picking up points and that is what we need to do."