Kevin Nolan has his eyes on his 100th career league goal – and wants to reach the landmark this Saturday against Stoke City.
The West Ham United skipper has been stuck on 99 since nodding the Hammers level in December’s 2-1 victory at West Bromwich Albion and is ready to end the wait.
We caught up with him at Tuesday’s Open Training day for this week’s Big Interview…
Looking back at Saturday, clearly a frustrating result but on reflection was it a game that could have gone either way?
KN: “Yes, definitely. That’s the most frustrating thing because we thought we did enough to at least get something out of the game and we should have won. It’s the old chestnut of if you don’t put your chances away, you could succumb to a defeat. That’s what happened to us, we missed chances where earlier in the season they would have gone in for us. That’s what we have to get back to.”
There has been a few late goals recently in either net. Can you put a finger on why that’s been the case?
KN: “You can never put your finger on it. It’s just that time of year now. Everyone’s battling for their lives and going for things. Leicester are battling to stay in the Premier League. Over the last few months it’s been difficult to have that run, but it’s something we want to put right and we’re working hard to make the fortunes change.”
For yourself you came close to that 100th goal in the first half. It’s coming isn’t it?
KN: “Yes. I’m glad I got a couple of chances on Saturday and I’m hoping that the next chance goes in. It’s starting to become a bit of a burden as people are starting to mention it a bit more. I’ve just got to keep working hard and hopefully something will fall for me. Hopefully one will go in off my backside or something!”
It would be nice if it came against Stoke as they’re a team in a similar position to us…
KN: “Yes. It’s a home game where we feel we can beat everyone. It’s a massive game as if we beat them we can put three points into them. It’s all on us and we’ve got to keep going and doing what we’re doing.”
The manager has spoken of the target of beating our highest points tally since returning to the Premier League. How big a target is that for you?
KN: “It’s massive. We want to have the best season we’ve had since we’ve been back in the Premier League. I think we deserve it after the start we had. It will be a disappointment if we didn’t hit that target, but we’re all very confident that we will.”
We’ve had Open Training this week with a big turnout – it’s always great to see so many young kids supporting the team isn’t it?
KN: “It’s brilliant. It’s been a fantastic day and it’s always nice when the weather is as good as it has been so the kids can stay around. I’ve had a few of these when it’s been a bit rainy and you feel sorry for them sitting there watching us in that weather.
“But Tuesday was a fabulous day and these kids are the future of what hopefully will be a successful period for the Club as it moves to the Olympic Stadium.
“It’s nice to give something back and all the lads were really happy with how it went. They’ve all gone out of their way to make sure the fans got what they deserved.
There’s been a few events this Easter – shop signings, this and a Fans’ Forum – so the Club are giving fans plenty of chance to get involved.
KN: “That’s important, because at the end of the day they’re the ones who matter to us most. We’re all more than happy to do it.”