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The Ivorian defender has stated his desire to earn a spot in the Hammers' starting XI after he returned with a strong display in their recent 1-0 win away at Newcastle

West Ham defender Guy Demel says he is eager to re-establish himself as a regular member of manager Sam Allardyce's starting XI.

The 31-year-old had been the Hammers' first-choice right-back at the start of the season, but lost his place to Irishman Joey O'Brien after tearing his hernia in the home defeat to Arsenal at the beginning of last month.

The Ivorian had been restricted to a place on the bench as a result of O'Brien's impressive form, but was called into action at St James' Park after left-back George McCartney was forced off 20 minutes into the second half.

Demel, who had a short spell at Arsenal before moving on to Borussia Dortmund and Hamburg, is hopeful that his performance in the North East can lead to him becoming a regular in the Hammers' first team.

He told talkSPORT: "What is important is the team, so it doesn't really matter who plays. I am happy that the players in my position in the couple of games I missed did really well.

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"It is good to have competition in the team and now I am just looking to get back to my best form and give my best when the coach and the team need me. It is always better to come back into a team that is winning, rather than come back in a team that is struggling.

"I tore my hernia, so I had to have an operation two weeks ago. After a couple of days we started the rehab and everything went really well.

"Last week was my first back in training and I got the opportunity to play 20 minutes, so I was very happy, though I need a couple more games to get back to my top form."

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