O’Neil: Favourites tag won’t affect West Ham

15:00 03 May 2012

Gary O

Gary O'Neil of West Ham

Rob Newell/TGSPHOTO c/o 27 Plaiters Way, Braintree, Essex, CM7 3LR - Editorial Use ONLY - FA Premier League and Football League

Hammers midfielder ‘amazed’ at his involvement this season

West Ham midfielder Gary O’Neil admits that while they may be favourites to win the play-offs, it is a tag that won’t affect the Hammers squad.

The midfielder has played an extensive role in the final stretch of the season, becoming a regular starter in the West Ham engine room, and the 28-year-old is looking forward to tonight’s (Thursday) clash against Cardiff City.

“We are in very decent form, we have only lost one game at home this year to Reading, so we are looking forward to it,” he said. “The favourites’ tag doesn’t really mean anything to me.

“We deal with everything in the dressing room, we are a very tight unit and we try not to let outside influences affect us.

“You can guarantee that we will be giving all that we can and hopefully it is enough.”

Along with the Bluebirds, Blackpool and Birmingham City are also in the play-offs, but O’Neil sees all three teams as equal threats.

“There are four of us in the semi-final and league positions don’t really mean a lot,” he said. “I don’t see one as a bigger threat than the others, they have all had decent seasons to get where they are.”

Speaking of decent seasons, O’Neil has had an impressive spell of his own, coming back from his long injury lay-off to stake a claim for a first-team place.

And the former Middlesbrough man admits that he has been surprised by the amount of games that he has been able to play.

“I am amazed,” he added. “One, I didn’t think the ankle would let me play as many as I have and two, I didn’t think I’d be selected for as many as I have been.

“I’m really pleased on a personal level that I’ve made 10 starts this season.

“That’s probably about nine more than I expected, so that’s a real positive.”

The Hammers have won a club record 13 away league games this term, and O’Neil is confident that West Ham can continue that run tonight, before entertaining Cardiff at Upton Park on Bank Holiday Monday.

“Going away to Cardiff first could be an advantage if we treat it as a one-off game and try to win,” he said.

“Coming back here, we’d be confident.It’s an old cliché, but we need to take it one game at a time.

“We need to try to be solid and keep a clean sheet, score a few goals and then we can come back and finish the job.

“Cardiff have got into the play-offs by scraping in, so they’ll be buzzing that they’ve made it.

“It will be a tough tie.”

Latest Stories from SNAP.PA

Because she is just as cute as a real cat.

Read more

One pilot is dead and another seriously injured after the craft exploded over the Mojave desert.

Read more

Promotions

BT Home Smart Cam

When I was first told by my boss that I would be doing a review on the BT Smart Cam 100 I didn’t quite know what to expect. Before even looking at the product I was picturing it as nothing more than a web cam with a fancy name.

AGA Living Subscription

Every issue of AGA Living magazine is packed full of celebrity AGA owner interviews, interior and design features, ideas to inspire your culinary imagination, mouth-watering recipes and inspirational shopping ideas.

TOP STORIES

Quizzes

Arsene Wenger and Jose Mourinho go head to head (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

Football managers are either deified or chastised, depending on results and they are some of the most famous faces in the country.

Read more
Roy Keane  (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)

Roy Keane denied the world of more glorious beard action this weekend by shaving his famous chin hair off, however football is still littered with some impressive beards.

Read more
Do you fancy yourself as a football ground know-it-all? Try our devilishly difficult quiz!

How well do you know your football stadiums? This brand new quiz from London24 will seperate the men from the boys...

Read more
West Ham legend Paolo Di Canio features in London24's Hammers history quiz. Picture: Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Test your knowledge of West Ham’s history with this fun quiz from London24.

Read more

West Ham Transfer News

Southampton's Jay Rodriguez (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)

Catch up with the latest transfer news and gossip from around the web with our handy round-up.

Read more
Jermain Defoe has had two seperate spells with Spurs (Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images)

Former Tottenham and West Ham striker Jermain Defoe has confirmed that QPR manager Harry Redknapp was keen to sign him in the summer.

Read more
Andy Carroll during a West Ham United training session (Photo by Simon Watts/Getty Images)

West Ham co-owner David Gold has revealed that Andy Carroll could be back in the Hammers first team squad in two weeks’ time.

Read more
Chelsea's Didier Drogba celebrates with his team-mates (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

London24 Sport takes a look back at some of the biggest talking points from another thrilling weekend of Premier League action.

Read more

Here is a round-up of today’s best transfer stories from around the web:

Read more