Like every West Ham United fan, Freddie Sears has found it hard to look at the Premier League table this season.
The forward, who was recalled to Upton Park last week from his loan at Scunthorpe United, cannot understand how talented players in the claret and blue have gone missing.
However, as he savoured the 3-1 win at Fulham, the club's first on the road in the Premier League in 28 attempts, Sears was convinced of one thing: if West Ham's big players, chief among them Carlton Cole, could build on their performance at Craven Cottage on Boxing Day the club would pull clear of relegation trouble.
"As a West Ham fan, it's hard to see the club where they are," Sears said. "I want West Ham to do well and to see them not doing as well as they should be is difficult. There are some great players here and they should be well up the table.
"You look at the players around – Scottie [Parker], the Matty Upsons and the Coleys [Carlton Cole] – if everyone plays like they did against Fulham we won't be down there for much longer. Now is the time to kick on. We have an away win, which we haven't had for a while, and now we can kick on."
Cole scored twice at Fulham and he led the line with power and intelligence. He has been held back by injury and inconsistency this season but his talent has the capacity to tantalise.
"Coley's a very good player," Sears said. "The last couple of weeks he hasn't been his greatest, and he'll tell you that himself. But now he's sharp in training and the two goals he got against Manchester United [in the Carling Cup quarter-final] plus the ones against Fulham will help him massively."
Sears moved to Scunthorpe United in the middle of October, trading one relegation struggle for another in the Championship. He started in all of Scunthorpe's nine matches while he was there and the spell further fired his determination.
"We'll definitely need to battle at West Ham like we did at Scunthorpe. Everyone beats everyone at the minute in the Premier League and there are not many teams that can't be beaten. You'd put Man U and Chelsea in those categories. Now, we have to go everywhere and be confident, and try to get a couple of wins.
"Personally, I'd love to stay at the club. I'm a West Ham fan and I live around the corner. I'd love to stay and try to lift them up the league. We'll see what happens."
West Ham entertain Everton tomorrow before they face Wolverhampton Wanderers (home) and Newcastle United (away). It appears to be a defining sequence of fixtures and the manager, Avram Grant, is keen to build momentum.
Everton's home game against Birmingham on Boxing Day was postponed, leaving them fresher, but Grant is unconcerned. "Nobody will play on Tuesday with tiredness," he said, with a nod towards the tonic of victory at Fulham.
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