Hitz on a high

Thomas Hitzlsperger has thrown his backing right behind West Ham United's plans to move to the Olympic Stadium.

The Germany midfielder is close to a first-team return having made his comeback in Wednesday's reserve-team match at West Bromwich Albion. He has yet to play a competitive fixture for the club, having suffered a thigh injury captaining his country back in August. It was a bitter blow after the 28-year-old had shone in pre-season.

Speaking to West Ham TV, Hitzlsperger said: "I had a tough time behind me but it's all looking good at the moment and I want to improve, first of all to be fully fit and then to help the team to stay in this league.

"Although I haven't played yet for the club, I am looking forward to the first game playing in the West Ham United shirt and hopefully it will be soon."

While his immediate focus is helping the club in their relegation fight, the 52-times capped Hitzlsperger is also hoping the Hammers will be successful in their bid for the Olympic Stadium alongside Newham Council.

"It is important. If you listen to the fans, there's enough out there that would like go into the Olympic Stadium. For us as players it would be also good.

"When we go away from home there are always some nice places we play at, but it would be fantastic to have this as our home ground to play at every other week. Hopefully the bid goes through and we get to play in the stadium."

Hitzlsperger is used to some of the biggest and best venues in world football, having played at the 2006 FIFA World Cup and spent last season playing at the Olimpico Stadium in Rome with Lazio. He knows that a successful stadium would rely on being open to all - and not just football.

"It wouldn't only benefit West Ham United as a football club and the supporters of the club, it's also important for athletics and for the community to show that there are other things besides football.

"People need the opportunity to use the facilities there, to let them do all sports. There are many things you can do in the stadium, so we should integrate the rest of the community, including those who don't go to football.

"It is very important that people enjoy themselves when they go to the stadium. Most important thing of course for us is the team and that we are playing well. First of all this season for us we need to avoid relegation and then build from there.

"We've got to sort ourselves out and do the best until the end of the season to avoid relegation and then develop this club in the next few years. Part of that is the Olympic Stadium - it would be fantastic.

"London is special already, but when you have the Olympics here it will be wonderful and we will talk about it for a long time."