Nicky ready for Wembley date

When Nicky Maynard joined West Ham United in January, he stated his ambition to help the Hammers to reach the Premier League.

On Monday, the No8 netted his first Boleyn Ground goal with a spectacular strike to complete West Ham's 5-0 aggregate npower Championship Play-Off semi-final victory over Cardiff City.

Now, Maynard and his new team-mates are preparing for a trip to Wembley for the final on Saturday 19 May.

"Obviously we wanted to get automatic promotion when I first came but it wasn't meant to be but we've proved how good we are over the two legs and now it's down to us to prove it again in the final," he told West Ham TV.

While he was involved as a substitute in both legs against Cardiff, Maynard played his part in the victory, making an exciting cameo appearance in Wales before belting in the icing on the cake in east London in the shape of an unstoppable angled drive.

"Being 2-0 up, maybe it was about us being complacent, them coming at us and possibly getting a goal back and then being nervy, but we were at it from the word go and got the goals. It was pleasing to get my first home goal.

"I was just playing along the line and Henri Lansbury has played me in. I only had one thought in my mind and that was to get my head over the ball and hit the target and it was nice to see it hit the back of the net."

Maynard and his colleagues were back at Chadwell Heath this morning to begin preparations for their big day out at Wembley - the club's first appearance at the Home of Football since the 1981 League Cup final.

Understandably, the striker cannot wait for 19 May to arrive.

"When you are a professional footballer, you want to play in front of that sort of atmosphere. It's a massive game coming up, but we've got the players to do it and hopefully we can get there."