Hammers are on the Up, says defender

Matthew Upson has hinted that he is ready to sign a long-term deal at West Ham after backing the Hammers to challenge for Champions League football in the next two years

By JONATHAN CLEGG

Matthew Upson has hinted that he is ready to sign a long-term deal at West Ham after backing the Hammers to challenge for Champions League football in the next two years.

The England defender has two years left on his current contract and last week revealed that he wants regular European action to make sure he remains in Fabio Capello's squad ahead of the 2010 World Cup.

But Upson has now suggested that he could commit his future to the club because the 29-year-old believes the Hammers are going places under manager Gianfranco Zola.


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Upson said: "The longer he stays at the club, the better. We are under fantastic guidance and management with Gianfranco and [assistant boss] Steve Clarke and I think it could mean exciting times at the club next season without a doubt.

"It's tough to reach the Champions League and break into that top four, but there is no reason why we can't do it at West Ham. If we can get some players back fit and bring a couple of new players in, then this club and team can really go places.

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"You can't tell what is going to happen in two years' time so you have to roll with how it is going and make the same decisions as the present. I think the club is moving in the right direction and I am very excited about next season."

Upson remains confident that that West Ham will be playing in Europe next season after last weekend's 1-1 draw at Aston Villa maintained the club's grip on seventh place in the Premier League.

The Hammers face tough matches against Chelsea and Liverpool in the final four weeks of the campaign, but Upson insists the Hammers are not afraid of the top-four sides and are

capable of securing a Europa League berth.

He said: "Even though we have Liverpool and Chelsea to play, they're both home games and if we can get one or two players back fit before the end of the season, without a doubt we can hold on to seventh place.

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