Joey lauds clean sheets

Joey O'Brien believes in-form West Ham United are only just heating up ahead of Tuesday's npower Championship visit of Ipswich Town.

The Hammers are unbeaten in seven league matches, have won each of their previous two home games and have kept two clean sheets in succession - but O'Brien believes the team will continue to improve as the season progresses.

One of 12 summer signings, the Republic of Ireland international is still learning to play alongside his new team-mates, but the signs are that he - and they - are learning fast.


"This is just a new team, really, if you look at the players who have come into the team since the start of the season," he told West Ham TV. "The manager added a lot more players towards the end of the transfer window.

"Some of the players who have come in have only played a couple of games - Abdoulaye Faye has only made a couple of starts and has been fantastic in the last couple of games, while the likes of David Bentley and John Carew are still trying to get into the team.

"When they get cooking, things will go well for us."

O'Brien has been a regular presence in a defence that has kept four clean sheets in eight league matches this season - just one fewer than the Hammers kept in 38 league games last season.

On Saturday, the No17 made a fine last-gasp clearance to preserve his side's 1-0 lead over Peterborough United - a victory that lifted West Ham to fourth in the table and within a win over the summit.

"It was another hard win, really. It was 1-0 but I think we had plenty of chances. We put a lot of crosses into the box and if we had got that second goal it would have been more comfortable and we would have probably gone on to get three or four.

"As long as the game stayed at 1-0, they always had a chance of getting back in it, but in the end it was a clean sheet at home and a second clean sheet in a row.

"At the end of the day, if we get a clean sheet, with the players we have we're going to create chances and one way or the other we're going to get goals. If we keep clean sheets in most games, we're going to win them."

Another clean sheet against an Ipswich Town squad featuring no fewer than seven of his fellow Irish countrymen would be welcomed by O'Brien. The right-back will show no favours to his compatriots, of course.

"Home games are the ones we need to win. It'll obviously be a hard game because Ipswich are a good team and playing Saturday and Tuesday is always hard going, but if we are going to win the league then these are the games we have to win - back-to-back wins are always good.

"The home record is important. The fans are fantastic so we want to keep winning, keep them happy and make other teams not want to come here. If we can win on Tuesday, then we'll have a good little home record going."