Lomas: No Sentiment

Steve Lomas says he can afford no sentiment for his old club Manchester City when West Ham go there on Saturday.

Steve himself will be cheering the Hammers from afar - he is still recovering from the knee operation he had a week ago - but insists he is willing West Ham to win with no second thoughts about his former team's plight.

"I looked at the fixture at the start of the season thinking that it might be a big game for Manchester City's future but I never dreamt that we'd be anywhere near the situation we are at.

"I thought we'd be pushing for Europe - so that is the disappointing aspect.

"They've got to win, there is no other scenario from their point of view. They've got to go all out and if they don't win they are down.

"But there's no mixed feelings from me; our futures rely on it as well and it's dog eat dog at the minute.

"I hope we get at least a point if not three but at the end of the day this game will have not relegated Manchester City.

"The other scenario, for us, is that there is no hiding behind anything: we have to look at the other side of the coin and a defeat for us would put the pressure on although the clubs below have got a hell of a tough run-in.

"But I've seen it before: you get some unbelievable results, teams that have no right getting results against teams higher up the table."

Steve recalls relegation with City last time around and says: "We'd won our second last game at Aston Villa and we actually thought we were safe because we thought the other two teams, Coventry and Southampton, had no chance of winning.

"But both of them pulled off unbelievable results so we went into the last game needing to win to be safe, but we drew and went down on goal difference.

"Alan Ball had told us we were safe and to kill the game, so we kept the ball.

"My lasting memory of it is Niall Quinn running down the touchline fully clothed - I can't remember if he was injured or taken off or what - shouting that we needed to win. Alan Ball had got his wires crossed but you'd have to ask him what happened.

"I don't know if it was a Southampton fan that had told Alan a draw was good enough for us, but obviously it wasn't.

"After that we had a chance where it hit the post, and I thought it was meant to be - we were meant to go down.

"It was a terrible day and something that haunted me for quite a while afterwards. The week before I'd scored the goal at Aston Villa that gave us a chance and then a week later I didn't know where to put myself."

Steve does not want to follow Wimbledon last season who dropped like a stone towards the end, and he says: "Wimbledon went into the last game needing others to do certain things, but for us it is in our own hands.

"That is why this week is so important to get it over and done with. Until you are mathematically safe there is pressure even if the other teams have hard games.

"But you're down there because over the course of the season something has been missing and the sad fact for Manchester City and West Ham is that it has been the home form.

"We went into the season thinking we'd be winning the majority of our home games; I just don't know what to put my finger on.

"It has been a major surprise and disappointment; the fans have turned up; 26,000 every week, and given us good support and stuck with us.

"Through a combination of different things it has gone wrong, so now it's a matter of removing the slightest possibility of us getting dragged into it, and looking to next season.

"I think Harry wants to change formations next year so we will have to wait and see."

So much for the mental anguish; a week on from the op, how is he physically?

"I'm still very uncomfortable and it is hard getting comfortable at night, so I'm not sleeping much.

"Daytime TV absolutely depresses you but you have to thank your lucky stars; there are some unfortunate people out there and maybe sometimes we take things for granted.

"This sort of thing makes you realise how fortunate you are.

"There are going to be quite a few painful months ahead, but I'm not kidding myself. I know it'a long hard road, but I'll be back fitter and stronger..."