Martin wary of 'formidable' Toffees

Alvin Martin believes West Ham United are in as good shape as they have been for some years and has high hopes for the club's prospects in the next decade.   

After some turbulent times, the Liverpudlian defender is thrilled to see calm and success restored to the Boleyn Ground, with the Hammers sitting tenth in the Barclays Premier League ahead of Sunday's trip to Everton.

But Martin, an Everton schoolboy in his formative years, reckons Big Sam's men will have their work cut out against a miserly Toffees side who have lost just six league games all season long.

He exclusively told "Everton are a team that don't give anything away. When you look at the number of games they have lost this year, they're not far behind Manchester United and Manchester City. They're resilient and formidable. Admittedly, they've drawn a lot of games, perhaps that they feel they should have won.

"Under David Moyes, this is the best side they've had by a long way and it's the most creative as well. So it's going to be a tough game because they are a top six side. That's credit to the manager and the team."

The Hammers lost the reverse fixture 2-1 in December, after goalscorer Carlton Cole was dismissed by referee Anthony Taylor, a decision subsequently overturned. Rough justice though it was, Martin thinks the prospect of a top-ten finish will figure much higher in the players' thoughts come Sunday.

He continued: "I don't think the players will be looking at it as if they have a score to settle. They will see it as another game, another three points to try and finish as high as you can.

"If West Ham had come into this season saying we're going to finish mid table, we'd have absolutely bitten your hand off at the time. We did have a brilliant start then a little wobble, but Sam has done ever so well to see them through that. Sam's a solid manager and a solid personality. He just focuses and gets the job done."

Martin insists the stewardship of Allardyce has brought much needed stability back to the club, a position that he hopes will help the Hammers make the transition to the Olympic Stadium three years down the line. 

"From what I've seen this year, West Ham are probably as in a stable position as they have been for eight or nine years, which is where I want us to be.

"We seem to have a steadiness about us now and obviously with the Olympic Stadium on the horizon, it's vital that we have stability here. From what I hear, this could be a magnificent next decade for us. I think it's a case of saying let's stay solid, certainly for the next three years."

Meanwhile, a three-time Hammer of the Year himself, Martin was as pleased as anyone to see his former colleague Billy Bonds MBE collect the club's very first lifetime achievement prize at Wednesday's Player Awards.

"Bill is somebody I idolised as a kid before I got into the team. It was a privilege to play with him and if there's one player I played with, in all the games I played with at West Ham, that you'd want alongside you in a game that you had to win, it was Billy Bonds.

"He was that sort of character. Great footballer, strong man and a fantastic role model. I always hold Bill up as an example to my boys, when we talk about how things should be done and how you approach the game and how to prepare yourself mentally and physically. Bill had all of that. He was way ahead of his time. But more than anything, a man with morals and integrity."