Thursday, August 03, 2006


Ashton: "Top six at least"

Dean Ashton has told website that he thinks West Ham should be aiming for a top six Premiership finish at least for the coming season.

He said, "Next season I think we should be looking for a top six finish, to do well in Europe and another good cup run - and that's the minimum. Obviously losing the FA Cup was a big disappointment but getting to the final and playing so well proved just how far we had come. We could all look back and say there was nothing more we could have done to win the cup and in the end it was one great player who beat us. That performance and our league position proved what we believed at the start of the season - that we were good enough to compete in the Premiership."

Deano has also said that the competition for places up front for West Ham will only spur the club on. "With the arrival of Carlton Cole we now have five forwards competing for places in West Ham's starting line-up and that has to be good for the club. I think Carlton Cole is a very good signing and I really hope that everyone will want to stay and fight for place because that sort of competition is great and can only help us push on and be more successful than we were last year. Of course we are aware that all of us can't play and there are going to be unhappy players when they're not in the side, but that should act as an incentive and to show the manager you are too good to be left out. Once you are in the team you have to play well to stay there."

Ashton is sorry to see Carl Fletcher leave but is glad that all other major players have stayed. "Carl Fletcher has left us and that is a shame because he showed what a fine midfielder he was and he was a really good bloke to have around the place. But the move to Palace was a great one for Fletch and I wish him all the best there. Apart from that we have managed to hold on to most of the lads and that has to be good news for the club. We were a bit worried about Anton Ferdinand being injured for the start of the season but he looks like being alright now and so it's all looking good."

And so Ashton sees a rosy future for West Ham. "We're off to Greece this weekend for a couple of games against Aris FC and PAOK FC and then we face another Greek outfit Olympiakos. With West Ham playing UEFA Cup football this year it's important that we get a bit of experience of continental teams and we're all looking forward to facing a different style of play. We're all really looking forward to the kick-off against Charlton and running out in front of the fans at Upton Park. They were amazing all season and absolutely fantastic in the FA Cup final and we hope to give them more to cheer about this year. Our success last year has put pressure on us for this season, but it's the sort of pressure you want to be under."

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