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Hammers happy after bonding

Avram Grant believes West Ham's team bonding session has helped to bring his squad closer together as they head into a crucial period in their battle to avoid relegation.

The Hammers fought back from 3-0 down to pick up a point at relegation rivals West Brom last Saturday and move off the foot of the Premier League table.

The second-half comeback, which was inspired by captain Scott Parker's rousing half-time team-talk, came as a huge relief for Grant and his side after the previous weekend's 1-0 home defeat to fellow strugglers Birmingham.

The team were rewarded for their draw with a trip to the Red Lodge karting track in Newmarket, East Cambridge yesterday when they raced against each other before taking part in some clay-pigeon shooting nearby.

Grant and his side must temporarily forget about their battle with relegation tonight when they take on Burnley in the fifth round of the FA Cup at Upton Park.

Eddie Howe has lost only once since being appointed Burnley manager last month and the Lancashire club are only nine places below West Ham in the league ladder.

"It's always good to play at home but I know it will not be an easy game," said Grant.

West Ham v Burnley,

Live, ESPN, 8.0

Irish Independent