Powell keeping the faith

There was a familiar face back at Chadwell Heath this week in the form of former fans' favourite Chris Powell.

The left-back won plenty of admirers during a terrific spell at the club in the promotion season of 2004/05 - "the best year of my career" - culminating in a starring role in the play-off final at Cardiff. Now 40, Powell is still heavily involved in the game as a player-coach at Leicester City and was back at West Ham to pick up some tips.

Powell caught up with many old friends including his old team-mate Mark Noble and former Charlton Athletic colleagues Jonathan Spector, Scott Parker and Carlton Cole. He knows full well about the quality in the Hammers ranks and has no doubts the club will be able to secure top-flight status for another season.

"The club was boosted by the signing of strikers in the transfer window. Young Carlton was injured at the time, so there is a bit of strength there to help him now. The games coming up against Wolves and Stoke will be important to win and the boys know exactly what they have to do.


"Gianfranco [Zola] and Steve [Clarke] are the same and they will be making sure the boys are ready to do that. I truly believe they are going to be OK and you can see the spirit in the place. There is more than enough in this squad that will see West Ham stay up and survive in the Premier League."

Powell was capped by England under Sven-Goran Eriksson, and said he believed the club's Three Lions contingent should all be confident over their World Cup chances. "It would be great for West Ham if they have players in that final 23 to go to the World Cup. As I proved, it is never too late - I got five caps - five more caps than I thought I would have ever got.

"You should never give up hope. Matt Upson and Rob Green are sure to go to South Africa. For Carlton and Scotty, if they keep doing what they are doing for West Ham week in, week out, then they will be in with a chance as well."