Keane to get involved

Robbie Keane believes West Ham United have the strength at both ends of the pitch required to safeguard their Barclays Premier League status.

The No34 was forced to sit out Saturday's goalless draw at Tottenham Hotspur due to the terms of his loan agreement with parent club Spurs.

The absence halted Keane's comeback from a calf injury, but the Republic of Ireland captain is hoping to step up his return to full match-fitness during his country's forthcoming EURO 2012 qualifier against FYR Macedonia and friendly international meeting with Uruguay in Dublin.

While he is naturally eager to earn his 105th and 106th caps for his country, the 30-year-old is equally keen to return to league action for the Hammers when champions Manchester United visit the Boleyn Ground on Saturday 2 April.

With just one defeat in their previous seven league matches, Keane believes West Ham have every chance of upsetting the Red Devils and taking another big step towards safety.

"If you look at the last few games - obviously at Stoke in the FA Cup wasn't the result we wanted - in the Premier League we are starting to hit form at the right time, so we're certainly in good shape. Thomas Hitzlsperger coming back in during the last few games has been a massive bonus for the team.

"In the last few games we've played, we have got the ball down and played. We've certainly got players who can keep the ball - Scott Parker, Mark Noble and Thomas - and we have a massive threat going forward in Demba Ba, who is in magnificent form.

"Since he has come in, he has done a tremendous job. He had a couple of niggles when he came to us but he's back in the side now and has scored some important goals for the team."

While Keane, Ba and Hitzlsperger have added to the attacking options available to Avram Grant, another January arrival, Wayne Bridge, was in outstanding form at White Hart Lane.

Bridge, as well as captain Matthew Upson and midfield talisman Parker, also earned glowing praise from Keane.

"Defensively, we were absolutely solid on Saturday and Wayne Bridge certainly deserved to get the man of the match award. When you think he was playing against Aaron Lennon and Wayne Bridge, it just goes to show how well he did play because they two of them kept chopping and changing sides because they weren't getting much joy out of him. Full credit to him.

"We've got people like Matty Upson here who demand a lot from the players and you saw that on Saturday.

"Scotty has been tremendous. When you look at a player from afar when you're at another club, you appreciate players like Scott Parker. When you see them first-hand, you realise just how good they are."

Although he has been here only a relatively short period, Keane has already become an influential figure in the dressing room, while his driving skills helped a team that also included Bridge, Noble and Jonathan Spector to take the go-karting honours on a recent team-bonding day.

"I think, as a group of players, we certainly believe we won't get relegated. I think we have to believe that after a defensive performance like that and that we certainly have the players in the team who can score goals.

"The table is so close, so if we get a couple of back-to-back wins we're right back up there again.

"I'm looking forward to my future at West Ham. It's obviously been a little bit frustrating. I came back and unfortunately I got injured in my second game which was disappointing, but luckily enough I'm back fit now and I played 20 minutes against Stoke and 65 minutes in the reserves.

"The international games have come at a nice time for me. I'm looking forward to playing two games and hopefully getting myself back in the mix again.

"Manchester United is another tough game. Our next few games are very tough and it was crucial that we got something out of Saturday's game.

"Our home record is decent and we always do well against the so-called bigger teams so it's a game I'm certainly looking forward to and I'm sure the lads are too."