Papa preaches right approach

Papa Bouba Diop is ready to pass on his considerable experience to aid the claret and blue charge up the npower Championship table.

The new recruit may have played and scored at the FIFA World Cup as well as featured for several years in the French and English top flights, but he is now relishing the prospect of helping the Hammers to have a successful campaign in east London.

Bouba Diop has been working hard on his fitness since leaving Greek Cup winners AEK Athens last season and turned his back on another UEFA Europa League campaign to play for Sam Allardyce's men. He has already seen the recent matches against Leeds United and Nottingham Forest and been impressed.

"I am confident we can be promoted because we have quality players. They are Premier League players. If you saw how they did at Nottingham Forest, you can see they played well and scored four goals. If we continue like this, we can return to the Premier League at the end of the season."

Bouba Diop's experience will be vital to help the younger Hammers to shine. He could line up in a midfield boasting the likes of Mark Noble and Jack Collison, while behind him could be the blossoming partnership of Winston Reid and James Tomkins.

"We have a lot of young players and it is important for the older ones to help the young ones coming through. They can listen to us and that is good. We have experience. Football can be complicated sometimes and it is important for everyone to always listen.

"I am a lucky guy to have had my career so far but you never know everything in the game and every day you must learn. It is important to talk together on the outside and on the inside as a team."

Part of his experience was a tremendous spell at Portsmouth that saw him win the FA Cup. However, there will be no room for sentiment if called upon to make his Hammers debut against his old club at the Boleyn this Saturday - even if he recognises the intrigue of the fixture.

"This is football. Now I am at West Ham and I work for West Ham. We have to try to win the game."

Having enjoyed the full support of the Fratton Park faithful, he is relishing being a favourite son in the East End.

"I saw the game against Leeds. I like the atmosphere, the fans push the players, the team. It is good to feel something like this. They give you movitavtion to go forward and give everything. It is helpful.

"They are part of the club, the fans want the victory every week and the players need something behind them pushing them every single game. That is very important. When a player arrives inside the stadium he needs to feel that all around him."

Certainly Bouba Diop is aware what is expected. "Although I have played at a high level, you can never relax. Every day and in every match you have to show people what you are about. You have to concentrate.

"There are a lot of games in the Championship, two or three a week, but I am focused on getting stronger and helping the team to pick up points every time we play. I will work hard. The Championship is more demanding than the Premier League and it is different but I want to play."

To do that he will have to compete with an already strong midfield that has been boosted by the arrivals of David Bentley, Henri Lansbury and the versatile Guy Demel. He knows he has to impress the manager and believed already that Sam Allardyce will get the best out of the squad.

"He is a good coach. He is friendly with the players, talks to them. It is a team and it is not only about the player. The manager, the coaches, the medical staff - everything has to come together.

"We all have to talk and be close. When we come to the matches we must all give everything for West Ham."