Alvin aiming high

West Ham United legend Alvin Martin believes West Ham United are on the verge of enjoying a productive season.

The Hammers have lost just one of their last seven matches in all competitions and are through to the Carling Cup quarter-finals following a stirring extra-time victory over Stoke City in midweek.

Martin, who was part of the West Ham side that reached the League Cup final in 1981, believes a strong run in this season's competition could be the catalyst for a surge up the Barclays Premier League table.

"I think there has been an upturn, I'm pleased to say," the former England centre-back told

"The low after the upturn was obviously the Newcastle game, but talking after the Stoke game, it was a big win and a good response after the Newcastle result. It's all about the next game now - I don't know what's going to happen at Arsenal as anyone going to the Emirates nowadays has a big task on their hands.

"I think there are green shoots of revival, though, and I've felt that for a few weeks now. We look capable of scoring goals. We've just got to tidy up on a few things - we've conceded a few from set pieces that perhaps we could improve on.

"Victor Obinna has come in and I've been really impressed with him, while Freddie Piquonne has obviously had an impact."

With the Carling Cup quarter-final draw being made on Saturday, Martin is eyeing a home draw against anyone other than Arsenal and Manchester United in the last eight.

"Let's hope they both draw each other! When you get to this stage of the competition, you're always looking at a favourable draw, but sometimes they can turn out to be banana skins. Sometimes you get bigger teams like Aston Villa and it can be a blessing in disguise - we beat Villa on the way to the FA Cup final in 1980.

"Once you get into the quarter-finals, you think to yourselves that you could do well and get to the final. I think it only takes one draw - Arsenal and Man United getting each other - and you think 'Who else is better than us in this competition?'.

"The draw is obviously going to be important, but if they can have a reaction to the Stoke game and go to Arsenal and perform well there, then there are games coming up that are all winnable.

"If we can the go into the next round of the League Cup with a few wins under our belts, then who knows? Football is all about confidence and always will be about confidence. I do feel we have an opportunity to really make our season over the next six weeks."

Scott Parker

Martin lamented the loss of two valuable points in the recent 1-1 Premier League draw at Wolverhampton Wanderers, where Piquionne had a seemingly good injury-time 'goal' ruled out for handball.

However, the Liverpool-born defender is looking to the future rather than the past and believes the club's big players are hitting form at the right time ahead of important meetings with Birmingham City, West Bromwich Albion and Blackpool in November.

"The Wolves game really could have been a win because the decision went against us. That could have been two more points and that would have made all the difference because two or three points can make a massive difference to where you stand in the table.

"There is a mental impact to being in the bottom three from the players' point of view and also the fans' point of view, so that two points that should have been gained at Wolves would have made a big difference.

"I'm relatively happy at what's going on. We've got decent players - Mark Noble looks like he is in really good form at the moment and Scotty Parker has been an inspiration and Robert Green has come back and looked solid - so there are a lot of things I look at now and think it's better than last season.

"We look more capable of scoring goals than we did last season, so hopefully things will look up for us."