West Ham’s O’Brien: The best is yet to come from Hammers

Hammers defender Joey O’Brien is enjoying life at Upton Park after years of injury misery

West Ham may be riding high in the Championship table, but defender Joey O’Brien thinks there is a lot more to come from the squad this season.

The Republic of Ireland player has played in every league game so far this season and he sees the makings of a good team at Upton Park.

“I definitely think there is more to come,” said O’Brien. “We are still a new team really when you look at the players that have come into the team since the start of the season and then obviously we added a lot more players towards the end of the transfer window.

“Those players have come in and only played a couple of games, people like Abdoulaye Faye has only played a couple of games, but he has been fantastic.

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“Players like David Bentley and John Carew are still trying to get into the team, so with strength like that, things will go well for us.”

O’Brien has already played more games this season than he has done since 2005 after his career was almost ended by a devastating knee injury, but he confirmed that he has had no problems with his knee so far this season.

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“The fitness is good,” he confirmed. “Obviously since pre-season I have played definitely double figures in terms of games, and I haven’t done that in probably three years, so in that sense I am just going to keep on getting fitter and stronger.

“Being out for so long means it is not just the knee that is the main worry. With the muscles sometimes you might get a bit of an imbalance where you are compensating that little bit more, but the medical staff here have been fantastic and given me extra work to do on certain parts of my body.”

In seven years at Bolton Wanderers, O’Brien managed just 71 games, while two loan spells at Sheffield Wednesday did not really help the rehabilitation of his knee.

Now though, the midfielder turned defender is finally feeling confident about his fitness.

“Overall, when you think about the knee, it has been grand and that is the main thing,” said O’Brien, who was fairly pleased with his own contribution in Saturday’s 1-0 win over Peterborough United.

“I think I did all right,” he said. “I got forward a bit and put in a couple of decent crosses, but also mis-hit a couple of crosses too.

“The second half I sat in a bit more and just tried to defend, keep things steady at the back and it seemed to work.”

It did, as West Ham battled their way to a narrow victory, though O’Brien admitted that it had not been easy.

“It was a hard one really,” he admitted. “I think we had a lot of chances, a lot of crosses into the box, and if we had got that second goal we would have been a lot more comfortable and would have gone on to get three or four I think.

“But as long as the game stayed at 1-0, they always had a chance of getting back into it. But in the end it was a clean sheet at home and that is two back to back, which is what we are looking for.

“The spirit in the camp is fantastic. We are a really, really good group of lads who all get on well together and I think that in the end that is going to be the main difference in getting us up.”

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