Reid ready for hot Malta test

Winston Reid says West Ham United will approach Thursday’s UEFA Europa League tie with Birkirkara FC like any other match.

The Hammers will face searing heat, a partisan 15,000-strong Maltese crowd and opponents determined to overturn their 1-0 first-leg deficit on home turf at the Ta’ Qali National Stadium.

Having captained both West Ham and New Zealand and played in the Middle East, South Africa and China, Reid insists he and his teammates will be fully prepared for the Stripes.

“I think we are going to have to manage the game in the heat and use our experience and it’s just one of those things you have to deal with,” said the defender. “It’s a factor and we have to make sure we manage how it affects us and we’ll do our best to do so.

“Getting off the plane it was like walking into a brick wall. It’s just one of those things. We knew it was going to be a hot place to come to and we will feel how it is in our training session, so we will see how it is for the game.

“I have played competitive matches in heat before and it is a factor, but we are professional you don’t have to worry about it too much. We’ll prepare for it, hydrate as well as we can and, come game time, we will be ready for the game.”

Reid made his European debut for the Hammers in the first leg, having previously played in continental competition as a youngster for Danish side FC Midtjylland in 2007 and 2008.

Having signed a new long-term contract earlier this year, the 26-year-old is now focused on achieving great things in a Claret and Blue shirt, starting with a run in the Europa League this season.

“Yes, playing in Europe was one of the things I wanted to do and I felt I could achieve it with this club,” he confirmed. “These first few rounds are tough games against teams we are not really used to, but we want to progress and reach the group stage, obviously.

“I think we have shown by our dedication and training that we aim to do that and I am sure, come Thursday night, we will go out there and put in a professional performance.”

*Kick-off on Thursday is at 8.45pm CET (7.45pm BST) and you can watch the game live in the UK on Premier Sports.