Macca prepared for 'big game'

Assistant manager Neil McDonald said the West Ham United squad was itching to get Tuesday's npower Championship clash with Southampton underway.

The Hammers can extend their lead over the second-place Saints at the top to four points should they win at the Boleyn Ground - gaining revenge for their 1-0 defeat at St Mary's in the reverse fixture in the process.

In an interview with BBC Radio 5Live's Football League show, McDonald said his fellow staff and all the players could not wait to kick-off.

You must be looking forward to facing Southampton?

"It is a big game. It's a game we're really, really looking forward to as well. It's a top-of-the-table clash. The last time we played them [at St Mary's in October 2011] they were in front of us and they went five points in front and now we've got a chance to get one back.

"If we can win the game we'll go four points in front again.

"Both clubs have got striking options and for us that is good for the team. Sam said in the past that we're creating lots and lots of chances and not putting them away to take the pressure off ourselves. We've certainly got players who can score goals and that is great."

Were you happy with the three players you signed at the end of the January transfer window - Ricardo Vaz Te, Nicky Maynard and Ravel Morrison?

"I think the gaffer was really, really pleased with the three that we got. Obviously Vaz Te was scoring goals for Barnsley and Maynard was scoring goals for Bristol City, so they were fantastic additions to give competitions for places.

"Obviously we've got the young Ravel Morrison coming in who will probably take a little but more time to get match-fit and be introduced on a week-to-week basis.

"Ravel looks very good in training. He is very comfortable on the ball and a very good passer so we're just trying to top his fitness up and hopefully he'll come into the equation in a couple of weeks' time."

Is it all about getting promoted this season over everything else?

"I think it is, but even the lads we have signed have got the potential to play in the Premier League as well, so if you are looking that far ahead then they are really good signings.

"The most important thing is certainly trying to get out of this league and that is what we're trying to do. We're happy with the position we're in at the moment and if we can keep it going or possibly kick on then we've got a great chance."