The Big Interview - Mark Noble

Mark Noble cannot wait to run out at Wembley to represent his beloved West Ham United in the 2012 npower Championship Play-Off final.

The Hammer of the Year, who is the sole survivor from West Ham's triumphant 2005 Play-Off-winning squad, appeared at the new national stadium for England Under-21s in September 2008.

That night, Noble created a goal that evening as England beat Portugal 2-0 to cement their place at the 2009 UEFA European Under-21 Championship finals. Nearly three years on, the No16 will be playing for an even bigger prize - promotion to the Premier League.

Mark, we're off to the Play-Off final seven years on from your first one and it is at Wembley. You must be delighted?

MN - Yeah, I'm over the moon. Obviously the way the boys played in both legs was fantastic. We knew Cardiff wasn't going to be an easy game when we drew them, so we went into both legs committed and really took the game to them. We fully deserved what we came out with.

Aside from the opening five minutes of the first leg in Wales, we didn't let Cardiff City settle at all, did we?

MN - We knew they were going to start like that there, anyway. We got a bit of luck with them hitting the crossbar in the first few minutes, but over the two legs, I don't think anybody can say we didn't fully deserve our 5-0 aggregate win. We're just looking forward to Wembley now.

We showed that there was no hangover or disappointment from missing out on automatic promotion, didn't we?

MN - I think the disappointment was shown after not getting automatic promotion, which is what we set ourselves out for. We let ourselves down because with the squad of players we've got, we should have got it but we drew too many games. The next best thing is going up through the Play-Offs and we're going to try our hardest to do that.

It was a bit of a blow to see Jack Collison go off with a shoulder injury, because he has really shown his class in recent weeks, hasn't he?

MN - Yeah, he has. He has scored some really important goals for us. Hopefully, touch wood and fingers crossed that he's fine and he can recover before the final.

You have played at Wembley once before for England Under-21s. What is it like to run out there?

MN - It's a lovely stadium to play at. It's a fantastic place. A few of the boys went to watch the Chelsea v Liverpool FA Cup final the other day and said it was unbelievable. I think it added to the motivation to want to go there. I'm sure we'll sell our allocation of tickets and hopefully we can go there and play like we have done in the semi-final.

Mark Noble

Is it going to be different playing at Wembley in a West Ham United shirt?

MN - The new Wembley is a fantastic stadium and hopefully it'll be full to capacity and we can really enjoy the day. It's about enjoying it, even though the pressure is going to be on, but that's what we're paid to do - to play under pressure.

What is the mentality among the squad now, with the job only half-done?

MN - I think a few of the boys will get together and go out and let our hair done a little. We've got 12 days until the final so next week we'll get our heads down and prepare for the final as we have done all season. We'll go to Wembley fully prepared for the game.

As a Hammers fan, you must know how important it is for the supporters to return to Wembley after a 31-year absence?

MN - Yes, but not just because I'm a fan, but because they have paid their money to come and watch us every week. The support we have had away from home has been unbelievable and it's been fantastic at home. The hard work the boys have put in to get there is just a little 'Thank you' for their support and we're going to need it fully at Wembley.

The team appears to be in the best form of the season at the moment?

MN - Yes, we are. Obviously we have come into the Play-Offs in a good vein of form. We've now won three home games on the trot and it's been a good end to the season for us. We were gutted to miss out on automatic promotion, but this is the next best thing. If you heard the atmosphere on Monday, it was unbelievable.

The style of football in recent weeks has been outstanding, so the wide open spaces at Wembley could suit you down to the ground?

MN - Hopefully. Everybody runs that bit further and that bit faster in finals but we need to approach the game like we have done every other game this season. It's an away game for us and we're pretty good on the road, so if we approach it like that, hopefully we can come away with the result we want.