Skipper sets the tone

Matthew Upson has hailed the Boleyn backing given to the Hammers on Saturday and said it could play a big part in making October another memorable month.

Home games against Fulham and Newcastle United - either side of a trip to Wolverhampton Wanderers - are to be followed by a mouthwatering Carling Cup last-16 date with Stoke City at the Boleyn Ground. Getting set for the challenges ahead, Avram Grant's men are unbeaten in three games and the captain was quick to praise the supporters for their part. 

"Saturday was a classic derby," the England centre-back said. "Right from the off, the atmosphere was good. We then set the tempo well and the crowd followed us. It is up to us to give them something to shout about and they didn't disappoint us.

"When the crowd are like that it adds to the whole atmosphere of the game and the quality of the performance. It is a big thing for us when they are like that and we are really pleased we could give them what they wanted."

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Upson, who was an impressive part of an unchanged back four from the previous top-flight outing, is relishing the prospect of the Kids for a Quid duel against Fulham next Saturday, with the club's decision to let children in for just a £1 set to play a big part in getting a packed and passionate stadium.

"We need that support next week but as I say it is up to us to set the tempo and get the game flowing. We have to do the job first but they have been brilliant wherever we have played."

The Stoke game is one to savour, with the club determined to get a full house when the tie is played in the week beginning Monday 25 October. "We are very pleased it is a home draw," said Upson.

"It is an opportunity to get into the quarter-finals. We need to give it everything we have got as the chance to go far would be great for the club. The guys went to Sunderland on Tuesday and did a great job. They performed really well and got it done and we will need to do that again when we play Stoke."

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