Kovac eyes Deportivo date

Radoslav Kovac is relishing being back amongst it with West Ham United at the club's pre-season training camp but admitted he cannot wait to sample the Boleyn Ground atmosphere again.

The Czech midfielder is part of a strong squad at the club's pre-season training camp in Germany and got a second useful 45 minutes in four days under his belt in Saturday's 2-0 defeat of VfL Borussia Monchengladbach. He is aiming to be at his maximum by the time RC Deportivo La Coruna visit on Saturday 7 August.

The match - to be played for the SBOBET Cup in aid of the Academy - will be the first time the club's new recruits will play at the Boleyn and also that manager Avram Grant will lead a team out at the stadium. Kovac said: "I love Upton Park, it is my home now and it will be good to be out there in front of the fans again.

"It will be a difficult match but we need that. Deportivo will be a good test of our level and can give us the standard we need for the Premier League. That will start a week later at Aston Villa and we need to be ready."


Talking of fans raises a smile with Kovac, who was more than impressed with the strong band of travelling supporters who descended on Ruhpolding on Saturday for the Monchengladbach match in good spirits. "The fans were there as usual. They were having a good time and enjoying it. It is summer and they love the team, so why not?"

The players naturally have to be a bit more reserved while working hard in the excellent facilities of their training camp. Kovac is enjoying the experience, nevertheless. "The new manager has been good with us and we all want to do our best for the club. We have some new players like Thomas [Hitzlsperger] and we will see where we are with the Premier League. It is important to start well.

"I am happy to be back with everyone again. It was very good to have the time off, we needed it after a tough season but I want to get going again. It was tough at first for the first week of training but now it is OK.

"I felt good against Monchengladbach. The first game against Peterborough was harder because it was the first game since Man City in May. I feel strong and everyone is getting fitter.

"It was important to have a good holiday. I went back to the Czech Republic and had a holiday in Dubai. I saw my family it was fantastic and very good to be there. Now, after two weeks of working hard, I feel much better every day."

Kovac is certainly no stranger to this part of the world, having played for Spartak Moscow in a UEFA Champions League match at the impressive Allianz Arena home of Bayern Munich back in August 2006. "I have played in Germany before and it is a fantastic football country. We are staying in a very nice place. Everything is peaceful and quiet. It is a perfect place for us to train."