Filed: Monday, 6th October 2003
By: Graeme Howlett
Derby match winner Don Hutchison has spoken of his delight at scoring the winning goal at Derby at the weekend - whilst admitting that his recent form had been somewhat below par.
Hutchison, 32, scored the only goal of the game in the final minute at Pride Park on Saturday evening to propel the Hammers into third place in the First Division.
And the Scot hopes that the goal - his first of the season - will signal his return to regular first team football, despite admitting that his form in recent months had dipped to an unacceptable level - most noticeable when the Hammers lost 1-0 at Rotherham in the game that proved to be Glenn Roeder's last in charge.
"The fans gave me stick at Rotherham - and I probably deserved it," he told whufc.com.
"That was one of the worst games I have played for a long time but my mind wasn't on it, because I had a lot of problems back home.
"My mum wasn't too well and went to hospital - it was pretty serious and all happened around the Rotherham game - but she is on the mend now. I didn't sleep at all the night before that game - and it showed the way I played on the day."
Hutchison's second spell at West Ham has been dogged with problems; shortly after re-joining in 2001 he fell out with supporters after a fracas with a supporter in the Bobby Moore Stand, before suffering a cruciate injury which kept him out of first team action for nearly a year.
Since then he has hardly featured due to a string of minor injuries, in between which he lost his father (although he still turned out for the Hammers the following weekend, something which is easily forgotten).
It could be argued that the stick he had received from certain quarters is a little unjust; one wonders how much of a sticking point the £5.5m club record fee is with some fans.
But now, Hutchison is hoping to put all that in the past - and show the Hammers supporters that he can play a vital part in the charge for the title.
"All I can do now is try and impress Trevor Brooking," he said. "There are a couple games left before Alan Pardew takes over so it is a case of trying to impress him and get a starting chance if I can.
"It is in my mind because I have been frustrated; I was hoping to have a good season this year and I would like to be starting, but the boys have had a great start and it is up to me to try and give Trevor a nod.
"I went through a bad period emotionally - and I probably didn't deserve to be in the side. But I had a chat with Trevor after the match on Saturday and his words when I came off the pitch were 'welcome back'."
And talking specifically about that goal - his first of the campaign - Hutchison added:
"I just hit it; you put your foot in there and hope your technique is right on the day. I was hoping that Kevin Horlock was going to let it go and he did. I didn't give him a call because it was really quick.
"I hit it well - but most importantly the boys got the win. It has taken me a few weeks to get back in the side - now the goal might just push me back in for a starting place."
And there won't be too many Hammers supporters not wishing him all the best of luck ...
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