Duo set sights on Sydney FC clash

West Ham United are desperate to finish their fantastic Football United Tour of New Zealand with a victory over Sydney FC on Saturday.

The Hammers complete their nine-day visit to the other side of the world by taking on the A-League side at the Westpac Stadium in Wellington.

Everything has gone to plan in New Zealand aside from Wednesday's 2-1 defeat by Wellington Phoenix in Auckland, and both Stewart Downing and Adrian have vowed to put things right in their second and final game of the tour.

"The manager wasn't too happy about the performance and the result on Wednesday," said Downing. "It's game on for us at the weekend. We need a big performance and a big win and hopefully everyone will come through that game with no injuries, which is a big thing. We need to do a lot better than we did on Wednesday night and hopefully we will do.

"I think I expect a similar game to the one against Wellington. It's a chance for them to impress against a Premier League team and no doubt they'll want to do well and put themselves in the shop window. 

"That's what we were expecting the other night. It was a difficult game as they were really fit and got amongst us. It was disappointing we didn't get the right result and the manager has stressed we need to do a lot, lot better in the game we've got coming up. We had a good, tough training session on Friday and we're all up for it."

Should Downing feature at Westpac, he will want to hit the same standard he did in midweek, when he produced a superb second-half cameo. After scoring at Stevenage, only a stunning late save from Louis Italiano prevented the winger from doubling his pre-season tally in the closing stages.

Ricardo Vaz Te

Adrian joined team-mates at Midland Park in Wellington on Friday

"I am feeling good at the minute. After coming through my first season with a couple of injuries that restriced my number of games, my main aim this season is to get as many games and goals as I can and help the team do better.

"We've had a good couple of weeks back and we hope to get a win on Saturday to take into the games going forward. It's a big season coming up for us and we have to do a lot better than we did last year. We're looking forward to it."

Adrian, who is expected to start on Saturday after Jussi Jaaskelainen played the full 90 minutes against the Phoenix, agrees that the Hammers want to put on a show for the supporters against Sydney.

At the same time, the former Real Betis man is hoping to win the race with Jaaskelainen to start the Barclays Premier League season between the sticks.

"I don't know if I'm playing yet but I hope so," said the Spaniard. "It's a big game for us because we're playing against an Australian team and there are Australian West Ham fans here too and the stadium will be full.

"It's good to have a challenge for the No1 spot because it has increaded the competition between Jussi and me. I try to help the team in every game and I work very hard in every training session, but we don't know who will start in the Premier League."

Another player hoping to start the season in the team is Mauro Zarate, who netted his first goal for the Club in Wednesday's defeat by Wellington. Adrian, for one, has been hugely impressed with his fellow Spanish speaker.

"Mauro is a very, very good player and I have a very good relationship with him because he speaks Spanish like me and is a great person," Adrian confirmed. "I think he will help us a lot this season."

Off the pitch, both Downing and Adrian have been hugely impressed with the reception they have received from not just the West Ham fans they have come across, but the people of New Zealand as a whole.

"Everywhere we go, people are stopping us and it's obviously been nice to have fans and people get behind us," said Downing, who celebrated his 30th birthday on Tuesday with a round of crazy golf in Auckland. "It's good for the club and the brand if the support goes worldwide and helps the club to grow bigger.

"The crazy golf standard wasn't too good, too be honest! Ginge treated me to dinner and the crazy golf, which was enjoyable, because we hadn't been out in the city. It was nice to do that for a couple of hours."

Adrian, too, has been stunned by the warmness of the welcome the Hammers have enjoyed.

"This is the first time I have been here and it was a long way to travel, but we are really excited to be here," said the stopper. "It's a different culture and tradition, like the Haka that we saw when we arrived and before the match. It's nice.

"It's top-class. The West Ham fans are unbelievable. We're in the other point of the world but there are so many West Ham fans in the airport, in the stadium, at training - it's crazy!"

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