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Collison's drop fears replaced by Euro vision

PUBLISHED: 12:11 22 January 2009 | UPDATED: 13:59 05 October 2010

Jack Collison believes West Ham s five-match unbeaten run has banished fears of relegation at Upton Park

By JONATHAN CLEGG

Jack Collison believes West Ham's five-match unbeaten run has banished fears of relegation at Upton Park.

Now the Hammers midfielder insists the club are capable of qualifying for Europe in the closing weeks of the campaign and mounting a challenge in the FA Cup.

West Ham climbed to eighth in the Premier League table following last weekend's 3-1 victory over Fulham and are just seven points behind UEFA Cup hopefuls Everton after a run of just two defeats in 11 matches.

Academy graduate Collison admits the club are no longer looking over their shoulder towards the drop zone, but focusing on the upper reaches of the league table and the opportunity to reach the fifth round of the FA Cup at Hartlepool on Saturday.

He said: "We're on a bit of a roll and we're definitely looking up the table. We've gone up to eighth and I think we really deserve to be there.

"The manager is really happy, the staff have been working hard and all the players have been doing their bit on the training ground and I think it's starting to show.

"A couple of months ago the performances were there but the results weren't - now we're getting both so there is a lot of confidence in the camp at the moment.

"We've got another home game against Hull next in the Premier League, but first we've got Hartlepool and we want to have a run in the FA Cup as well."

Collison has played an influential role in West Ham's recent run and the youngster has come of age since Gianfranco Zola was appointed manager at Upton Park in September.

He made his 10th league appearance of the season against Fulham and produced another eye-catching display, despite being stationed on the left of a midfield diamond.

The Wales international's sharp tackle allowed David Di Michele to set up Carlton Cole for West Ham's clincher and Collison acknowledges that his all-round game is steadily improving under Zola's guidance.

"I've been working hard, especially in the last few months since the new manager has come in," Collison said.

"I think my natural position is in the centre, but I'm getting an opportunity on the left or the right and it's really enjoyable.

"I feel I've really improved and I'm justifying my place in the team at the moment.


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