Upson example pleases Grant

Avram Grant has commended the performance of his captain Matthew Upson in leading from the back against Liverpool.

The Hammers skipper returned from the treatment table to play a commanding 90 minutes against Liverpool's big-money forward Luis Suarez, and admirably kept the Uruguay striker at bay.

Upson had been wrongly ruled out in some quarters for the rest of the season, and refused to let his achilles tendonitis keep him out of a massive match that the Hammers won 3-1 at a packed Boleyn.

"It was amazing," Grant said of the captain's commitment, having revealed before the game that his skipper was "desperate" to pull on the shirt. "Some said he had finished for the season but he said he could play. You can go by the book, but it depends on the individual. Matthew wanted very much to play.

"He did everything he could, he went from doctor to doctor so that he could play and he did very well."

Upson had forged a strong partnership with James Tomkins at the back but knows he has competition for his place. Every single one of Grant's defenders is fit, with Danny Gabbidon, Winston Reid and Manu da Costa all having to force their way back in from the sidelines. 

With Kieron Dyer and Victor Obinna hoping to take some part in training later this week, and Jack Collison possibly back in full training within a week or two, only Robbie Keane (thigh) and Junior Stanislas (hernia) are not in the manager's more immediate thinking.

It is telling that the reserves could line up in tonight's reserve match against Arsenal with the likes of Julien Faubert, Herita Ilunga, Winston Reid, Radoslav Kovac, Luis Boa Morte, Pablo Barrera and Zavon Hines involved.

Also positive is the fact that the hopes of back-to-back wins for the first time this season in the Barclays Premier League have been furthered by a second straight home game, with Stoke City arriving on Saturday. 

"It is always good to play at home. You feel the supporters are behind us as they are when we play away. I know the first half of the season has not been easy but they understodod the problems we face and have stayed behind us. Our target is to win the next game and always this is the most important thing for us."