Noble on the spot again

Mark Noble was the man on the spot again as his two penalties fired West Ham United to the top of the npower Championship table.

The No16 fired in his fifth and sixth spot-kicks of the season as the Hammers beat Nottingham Forest 2-1 at the Boleyn Ground.

While Noble was naturally pleased to be the match-winner for the second game in succession, the midfielder was happier with the collective achievement of winning three points that took his team to the summit for the first time since topping the Premier League in August 2006.


"The win was more important than my goals. We've been lucky enough to get three penalties in two games and I've been lucky enough that they've gone in. Three points, a win and we're top of the league and our aim now is to go unbeaten for the rest of the season and clinch automatic promotion. That's going to be our aim, no matter how the other results go.

"I think the only other time we've been top while I've been here was after the first game of the season! It will be nice to see the table but it doesn't make any difference until the last game has been played. Then we'll be smiling.

"Southampton have got a game on Monday but we need to concentrate on ourselves, keep winning and getting points on the board. That's nine points from three games and that's what we need to keep on doing."

Noble came within a yard of netting his first hat-trick in Claret and Blue, only to see a 20-yard shot flash wide of Camp's upright.

"It went just a yard wide, unfortunately. When I hit it, I hit it quite well and I thought it was going in, to be honest. Scoring a hat-trick would have been nice but the three points were the most important and that's all we care about."

The 24-year-old is relishing his role as the focal point of Sam Allardyce's side. Noble is almost always at the hub of the Hammers' best attacking play and is enjoying the added responsibility.

"It's nice to get the ball and the manager just says to me 'Mark, go out and play'. We know how he wants to play and he tells me to get on the ball and get us playing. Hopefully I'm doing that for the team."

While Noble's main priority is winning promotion back to the Premier League, he is also harbouring ambitions of appearing at the London 2012 Olympic Games.

The Canning Town-born player has been approached about the possibility of being part of Team GB as an over-age player and would love to be part of the Olympics in his home Borough of Newham.

"It would be nice, being born in this area it would be nice to be involved, but I am one of the older ones and I don't know if David Beckham, Ryan Giggs and Joe Cole have come out and said they want to play!

"Whether I get in is another story so it might be the younger boys like Tonks, Jack, Rob Hall and Henri Lansbury who could be involved. You never know though!"