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Last Updated: Friday, 23 February 2007, 07:56 GMT
Charlton fired for Hammers test
By Paul Fletcher and Charlie Henderson

Matt Holland
Everyone has to give it everything they have possibly got in these last 11 games

Matt Holland
Matt Holland says Alan Pardew has given the Charlton squad confidence to start their Premiership survival bid with a weekend win against West Ham.

"The manager's very positive, he's got everyone up," Holland told BBC Sport.

"There's a belief about the place that we can stay up and everyone's pulling in the same direction.

"We're looking at winning half our remaining games which will be tough, so we need to win our home games, starting with West Ham on Saturday."

Huge interest surrounds the derby against the Hammers at The Valley and Holland describes the meeting as "massive".

Pardew started the season in charge at West Ham, while current Upton Park boss Curbishley left Charlton last summer after 15 years in charge.

And the teams are locked together on 20 points in the relegation zone.

But it is the three points and not the associated circus that is the priority for the players, a point echoed by Addicks assistant Phil Parkinson.

"There is going to be a lot of hype with both managers up against their old clubs, a local derby and a relegation battle," he told BBC Sport.

"But the lads are focused, they know what is required and I can sense they are ready for the challenge."

Charlton assistant manager Phil Parkinson
Good managers, good coaches and good players really produce at this time of the season

Phil Parkinson

Charlton's last match was a 2-0 defeat at Manchester United on 10 February, and with a free weekend because of their third round exit from the FA Cup the squad headed to Malaga in Spain for some warm-weather training.

"It was hard, hard work," said Holland. "Double sessions and tough training.

"Since the manager's been in we've had a lot of games and not much time on the training field, with matches coming thick and fast.

"So it was a chance to get some intense work done, go through some ideas on our shape and get in top physical condition for our survival bid."

Parkinson was pleased with the application of the players and acknowledged the boost in morale the impending return of England international duo Darren Bent and Luke Young has had on the squad.

Bent has been out since 30 December, when he injured his knee playing against Aston Villa, while Young has been sidelined since damaging his knee ligaments against Liverpool on 16 December.

"We feel with Darren and Luke coming back into the squad we've a good chance of avoiding relegation," said former Colchester and Hull boss Parkinson.

"Those two coming back gives everybody a lift.

"We've a lot of honesty, a lot of commitment and we're excited about the run-in."

Charlton have 11 games left this season, including fixtures against fellow strugglers Watford, Wigan and Sheffield United, as well as the match with the Hammers.

Matt Holland, Darren Bent and Jerome Thomas celebrate a goal
Darren and Luke did all the work in Spain and that is great news for the club - a big boost at this stage of the season

Matt Holland

And Parkinson is confident Pardew will get the best from the squad at this crucial stage of the season.

"It's the good managers, the good coaches and the good players who really produce at this time of the season," he stated.

"We are now looking to reproduce our best work on the training ground - that will then produce good work in matches on a Saturday.

"Alan is very relaxed the way he goes about his business and there is no way any pressure will be transmitted to the players.

"Rather than telling them they have got to win we are telling them what they need to do to win and we are focusing on those processes rather than the outcome."

Pardew has freshened things up by changing the training ground around and putting up motivational quotes on the walls, cosmetics of which Holland approves.

"He focuses on the positive in order to help the players believe we can get out of the situation we're in," he added.

"And everyone has to give it everything they have possibly got in these last 11 games.

"Wigan are the team we're looking to peg back so their draw with Watford was probably the best result for us on Wednesday.

"If we can get close to them we can look at the teams above them, but for now it is Wigan who we have to catch.

"It's a mini-season now and we have to win half our games.

"Portsmouth did it 12 months ago, they are the example to us and hopefully we can be the team that does it this year."

Charlton v West Ham
22 Feb 07 |  Premiership
Lawro's predictions
22 Feb 07 |  Premiership
The relegation 18-pointer
09 Feb 07 |  Premiership
West Ham chief criticises Pardew
18 Feb 07 |  West Ham Utd
Pardew may listen to Bent offers
05 Jan 07 |  Charlton Athletic
Charlton suffer Young injury blow
18 Dec 06 |  Charlton Athletic
Parkinson secures Charlton move
05 Jan 07 |  Charlton Athletic
Pardew replaces Reed at Charlton
24 Dec 06 |  Charlton Athletic
Curbishley named West Ham manager
13 Dec 06 |  West Ham Utd


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