Curbishley has no illusions about the scale of task at West Ham

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The Independent Online

While Charlton were fighting tooth and nail in their London derby against Fulham last night, their former manager Alan Curbishley, who is now in charge of their rivals in the relegation dogfight, West Ham, is still coming to terms with a job which he knows will not be an easy ride.

The Hammers suffered a first defeat under their new manager against Portsmouth at Upton Park on Boxing Day, which left them in 18th place in the Premiership and three points adrift of safety.

Curbishley's men will get the chance to try to put things right in front of their own fans again when Manchester City travel to east London on Saturday. Curbishley knows, however, that there is plenty of work ahead.

"When I first arrived at Upton Park, I was not under any illusions because I had already had a good look at the table," said Curbishley. "Does confidence breed results? Or do the results have to come along and then they breed the confidence?

"We have got a lot of things to work on and it will be a really busy, full-on period from now.

"After doing what we had to against Manchester United and Fulham, I really did think these next games at Portsmouth and Manchester City could have helped us out of the bottom three.

"We are still looking to catch the team that is fourth from bottom and I have got to get as much out of my players as I can."

West Ham will hear today whether they will be without their full-back Paul Konchesky against Manchester City.

The club lodged an appeal with the Football Association following the defender's red card at Fulham, which allowed him to play on Boxing Day, with a disciplinary commission now set to rule on the case.

The captain, Nigel Reo-Coker, has picked up more than five cautions and is suspended for one match.

Curbishley left the Argentina international Javier Mascherano and Lee Bowyer out of his squad on Boxing Day and admits he is "still assessing things" as he looks to find out just where the squad will need strengthening during the January transfer window.

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