Grant steeled for semi-final

Avram Grant was savouring the prospect of the club's semi-final date with Birmingham City at his pre-match press conference on Monday. The manager revealed the club were closing on some transfer targets and that the players were all fired up for the chance to get to Wembley.

Avram on focusing only on the Carling Cup challenge...

"We are here because of the semi-final. It has been 30 years since West Ham were at Wembley [for the 1981 League Cup final] and this is a big game for us. That is what is important for me now. We have some problems with injured players, so we will know later on the squad.

"Tomorrow is a big game and we have had some good results in the last six matches, so we want to continue with this and succeed in the first leg, although nothing will be decided tomorrow. I am dealing with the problems on the pitch, and we have done that well. We still have some, so I am trying to deal only with this.

"The results in the last few weeks show we are doing well, they can always be better, but we have been doing well.

Avram on transfer targets...

"I don't want to speak about players who are not here. We are close, but cannot tell you at the moment because anything can happen in the negotiations. We want to close the deal first.

"We are trying to do it as soon as possible, because we have many games in January. On the field it is very encouraging. If we can make the squad a bit stronger, that will be good. A few of the players are coming back from injury, so that will also be helpful for us.

Avram on what a final would mean...

"Getting to Wembley would be very important for the club. I have been there twice in the past couple of years and enjoyed it very much.

"We have done well in the Carling Cup until now, the win over Manchester United was the only game they have lost this season and it was great for us. We want to be at Wembley, but it will be difficult.

"When you have a short squad it is a lot of pressure on a small group of players, both physically and mentally. There are many games in a short time, but we will deal with them. When you come to a semi-final there is no priority, we want to get to Wembley.

"We want to do well in the league and to succeed. We have come to a good position now in the league and so we can do it. A few of the players had to play in the FA Cup tie, and the Academy lads did well. We want to continue with this. The squad are all excited. I don't know any footballer who would not want to be in a semi-final.

Avram on Birmingham and whether the tie will have extra significance...

"It is very important to them. When you leave a club, you have some emotions, but you want a good result against them. It is important for everybody here. It is also important for Birmingham, it is a big, big tie.

"We are not one of the top teams, so for us and Birmingham it is a big game. From the motivation point, it is easier - when you know if you win, you are at Wembley, you do not have to say anything to the players. You need to get a good result at home to finish away. We will try to score and go with an advantage for the second game."