Joey on the mend

West Ham United defender Joey O'Brien is on the comeback trail after stepping up his recovery from the dislocated shoulder he suffered against Chelsea in January.

The Republic of Ireland international sustained the injury in the 0-0 draw at Stamford Bridge on 29 January after falling awkwardly in the second half of the stalemate.

O'Brien underwent shoulder surgery shortly after the incident and has been on a light training regime since, but he now hopes to step-up the intensity of his training with the blessing of the surgeon.

He told West Ham TV: "It's four weeks now since I had the operation. I'm heading back to the surgeon soon and hopefully he will give me the all-clear to step-up my training a little bit and do a little bit more.

"I've been doing really basic stuff since the operation like getting it out of the sling and trying to get the movement back. I've mainly just been doing really low-level strengthening exercises. Hopefully I'll get the all-clear and then I can step it up.

"I don't really know when I'll be back yet to be honest with you. I have to wait and see what the surgeon says and then we'll go from there."

The performance of O'Brien and the rest of the team against the Blues inspired a run of five matches unbeaten, with four of those wins, lifting the Hammers out of the relegation zone and into the top ten.

Even after being substituted against Chelsea, the defender insisted on watching the final minutes of the game from the side of the pitch and he says the disappointment of getting injured has been cushioned by the team's fine form.

"I said after I had done my shoulder that I wanted to come back out of the doctor's room and watch the last couple of minutes, watch us hang on.

"After that game I was asked and I said that if we go on and win the next three games then I'd have taken this injury and do the nine weeks out or whatever it's going to be.

"It's worked out nicely, so hopefully we can get another couple of wins on the board and we can relax."

Seven points now separate Sam Allardyce's side from the relegation zone, compared to the two points they were adrift of safety when bad luck struck for O'Brien, but the Irishman doesn't believe the Hammers can rest on their laurels just yet.

"We're not safe yet and we still need a few more wins. The lads know that the quicker you get them, the better.

"When you get the points on the board you can relax and when that little bit of pressure is off you it seems easier to play and enjoy your football.

"The wins can come easier when you're relaxed and playing a bit more care-free. Hopefully we can get the points early and enjoy the rest of the season."