Stech steps up again

Marek Stech is looking forward to Saturday's Carling Cup draw after another top-class performance in goal for the Hammers.

The Czech Republic Under-21 international stepped up again in midweek as West Ham United won 2-1 at Sunderland to earn their spot in the last 16. Stech will hope to keep his place in the next round, having also been imperious in the second-round home win against Oxford United - his first-team debut.

"The Sunderland game was brilliant," Stech told WHUTV. "The whole team was just brilliant. We were passing the ball great and obviously it was only my second game. I am pleased the manager gave me a chance after the Oxford game.

"I just had one important save for the team [late on from Steed Malbranque]. They crossed it over, I came out to reduce the space, he shot at me and it hit my hands. It was quite lucky but it was good to step up in that situation."

Stech has had a memorable couple of weeks, being capped again by his country to help them into the UEFA European U21 Championship play-off against Greece on 8 and 12 October.

He will hope to figure in that tie - with the winners progressing to the finals in Denmark next summer - before the Carling Cup fourth round in the week commencing 25 October.

"It is an important competition for us," added Stech. "We got a point at Stoke and that gave us some confidence. This is good for the club, good for the chairmen and for the whole team.

"Maybe the Carling Cup is not as important for some but it is for us. Any win is important. I am happy we are in the next round and we will see who we get."

Stech is expected to return to the bench behind England goalkeeper Robert Green against Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday and is tipping his team-mates to do the job. "The mood is great. The lads were really pleased and it is such a different atmosphere.

"The atmosphere will get better. We have more confidence and on Saturday we could win. If we have that confidence and play like we played now as a team, everyone doing their best. I think we can win.

"Hopefully I will be on the bench on Saturday and try to be ready when we have the next cup game, if I get the chance. I am looking forward to it. I will keep doing the same things, work hard and we will see."