Dicks - Slaven settled in straight away

Julian Dicks has fond memories of playing at White Hart Lane and hopes to be celebrating another famous win over London rivals Tottenham on Sunday.

The West Ham United coaching assistant was part of the side that came away with a 1-0 win back in February 1996 when a new Croatian defender called Slaven Bilic made his debut for the Hammers in north London.

Dicks played his part in the winning goal which was scored by Portuguese forward Dani and they went on to enjoy a top half finish in the Premier League.

The big London derby against Spurs is always one of the major highlights for supporters and Dicks will be hoping for similar celebrations in the away dressing room when the final whistle blows on Sunday.

Dicks said: “It was a great night for us when we beat them 1-0 and I can still remember the goal and Slaven making his debut. He played well that night.

“Danny Williamson played a corner into the box and I volleyed the ball which Ian Walker could only parry. The rebound hit Dani on the head and the ball went in.

“As you can imagine we went ballistic because beating Tottenham is always good, but beating them at White Hart Lane is even better.

“I didn't know anything about Slaven when he first arrived. He trained for a few days and wasn't anything special !! I am only joking. He fitted in straight away and you could see his quality.

“It helped that he could speak English. Back then we had a laugh and a joke in training and he settled in straight away. We had some great characters in the dressing room at the time and that is what got us through a lot of games. We had a good team spirit and if you watch the old clips we pressurised people.

“We were fit enough to do that and that is how the goal came about. We kept pressurising and that is what led to Dean Austin giving the ball away for a corner and the goal came from that. We had some good players and it was a special night.

“You should not have to lift the players for a game like this. They just need to listen to what the fans are saying and they are special games. For West Ham it is a big derby and the players know what it means.”

Dicks is hoping the team will show their quality once again having recorded memorable away wins over Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester City this season.

The Club suffered a blow when Dimitri Payet was ruled out for three months with an ankle injury, but the Hammers coach believes this is the chance for another player to show the management team they should be playing on a regular basis.

Dicks added: “Losing Dimitri is a massive blow for us. He has been fantastic for us but these things happen in football and the players who come in have to do a job.

“There is positive news with Diafra Sakho and Alex Song back in action because he has been missing for quite a while. He has been back in training for the last few weeks so we are getting players back.

“We want to stay in the top six and that is the aim for the coaches and players. It is important that we keep the players fit.”