'We're itching to get to 40 points'

Stewart Downing has his eyes on the points that would guarantee Barclays Premier League safety when the Hammers travel to West Bromwich Albion on Saturday.

With 37 points on the board, West Ham are not quite over the line yet, but would take a step closer with a positive result at the Hawthorns - and Downing does not want to leave the West Midlands with anything less.

"We've been itching to get to the 40-point mark the last few weeks, and I think we still need to get points on the board to be safe," he said.

"West Brom is a big game on Saturday and we'd love to get three points, but even if we take a point i think it would be a big result.

"They are in and around us, so if we can keep them below us that would be important."

The Hammers fell to a disappointing 1-0 loss to Crystal Palace on Saturday, when Mile Jedinak's second half penalty proved enough to earn the south Londoners the points.

Big Sam's men were made to pay for not making the most of a bright opening period, as Palace stifled their hosts after the break.

Downing felt the first goal scored was always going to be crucial and was frustrated that his side were not able to force the breakthrough.

"It was a frustrating afternoon for us, especially in the second half," he explained. "First half I thought we played some decent stuff towards the end, created a few chances and the keeper's really kept them in it.

"They are a hard team to break down. They make it difficult for you and I think it proved that way on Saturday.

"The first goal meant so much and we stressed during the week that if we could ge the first goal the gaps might appear, then we could create more space.

"It wasn't to be and they've done that to many teams this season. Credit to them, Tony Pulis has got them organised and they've got results.

"They got every man behind the ball [once they went in front]. We had some good combinations and put some good crosses in during the first half, but we didn't do that enough after half time."