Reo-Coker ready for Cup final
By Andrew Scurr. Last Updated: January 1, 1970 1:00am
Nigel Reo-Coker is hopeful the experience gained from playing in last season's Championship play-off final will be to their advantage in Saturday's FA Cup final.
The Hammers defeated Preston North End 1-0 at The Millennium Stadium to gain promotion to The Premiership last May.
Having played in such an important game in the past, the West Ham captain believes that will help a young squad overcome the emotions of the big occasion.
"It's invaluable experience, especially for such a young squad, that we have played in such big games like that," Reo-Coker told Sky Sports News.
"Playing in those occasions, we can only learn from it.
"Now we know what kind of atmosphere to expect and know what it's going to be like.
"All we've got to do now is make sure we perform on the day."
Reo-Coker will become the youngest captain in FA Cup final history when he leads his side out on Saturday and would surpass Bobby Moore as the youngest skipper to lift the famous trophy, should The Hammers beat Liverpool.
The 21-year-old says it will be a huge honour to enter the record books of the world's greatest cup competition.
"It's a tremendous honour, especially in FA Cup history behind some great cup captains," he added.
"There have been some great footballers that have lifted the trophy."
Meanwhile, the England Under-21 international has singled out Hammers boss Alan Pardew for special praise.
The former Reading manager began his career at Upton Park in tumultuous fashion, with many supporters calling for his head after a poor start.
However, after sticking with the job, Pardew has guided his side to the top-flight and will now see West Ham play in their first FA Cup final for a quarter of a century.
"I think the manager deserves a lot of credit," Reo-Coker continued.
"When the West Ham fans turned on him other people, other men would've just walked away from the situation.
"He stuck at it, went through the hard times and now we're getting the rewards and established himself.
"He's achieved what he wanted to achieve and the tables have turned in his favour now."