Gale: Don't Give An Ince

Tony Gale thinks that Paul Ince could play a big part in Saturday's proceedings when Middlesbrough are the visitors.

"Incey is still one of the best defensive midfielders around; he is getting on a bit in years now but it seems only yesterday that he was a cocky apprentice," says Tony.

"He sits just in front of that back two of Ehiogu and Southgate and they form a nice triangle that is very solid.

"They have been struggling to score goals but it was a great three points the other night for them against Fulham.

"It wasn't deserved; Fulham had most of the play but missed the chances and a couple of refereeing decisions went against them, but it was three points that pulled them up to in and around West Ham, so it is a big game Saturday."

Ince will get the usual treatment from the home fans at Upton Park, as memories that stretch back more than a decade to the day he appeared in a newspaper wearing a Manchester United shirt remain to the fore.

"That was ill-advised at the time," says Tony.

"I don't think it was Incey, it was his agent's idea and Paul got strung along on that one, suffering the consequences.

"He was only a teenager, he had the wrong advice and it wasn't his fault."

Tony knows that, after another away defeat in the last fixture at Bolton, the pressure remains on the home form and he says:

"We have got to be patient with the away form but the fact is that all but one of the home games we have got left are against sides that are around us or below.

"You look at that home form and say it has to be solid; I think we need about four wins to be safe.

"The away games coming up are hard ones, so the matches at Upton Park are very important and the crowd can still play a part."