Paul's Preview

Paul Goddard is looking forward to the visit of his old club Ipswich on Saturday - knowing that a win for the Hammers will push them closer to relegation.

But there can be no room for sentiment for Paul, who accepted Glenn Roeder's offer to come back to West Ham and be his number two.

"It's a game I'm obviously very much looking forward to and I enjoyed the win at Portman Road earlier in the season," he says, "but now time has moved on and it is now a vital game for both clubs.

"I have got to do a professional job on Saturday; we need those points and we will be going all out to get them, and afterwards we will wish them all the very best for the rest of the season.

"I think they have a good enough squad to survive and I'm sure they will fight right to the end and it will be a very tough game for us on Saturday."

Many observers are baffled as to why a team that qualified for Europe last year are struggling this, but Paul says:

"It's not too different, just that they have had injuries and loss of form from different people and it has just been difficult for them; they have had a rollercoaster of a season.

"It was a poor start, then a fantastic run in the middle, now it has just petered away, but I am sure they will be focused for the rest of the season."

But there will be no celebrations beyond the norm for Paul even if West Ham do win, as he feels that even 40 points will not guarantee safety.

Indeed, a win for the Tractor Boys would put them within two points of West Ham, and Paul says:

"I think it is very open and I've never known it so much so - such a few points separate a number of clubs, and we have been at the upper part of that group, apart from at the start of the season, but never able to get right away from it.

"Saturday is an opportunity for us to step away from it, but we think it is going to take more than one more win to get right out of it this year.

"We think we need two more results and whether that is a win and a draw or two wins we are not quite sure, but there are so many teams involved that it could possibly be more than that.

"I'm not a great statistician, but I think last year 38 points stayed up - it will be more this time.

"I think there is a gap in the Premiership with five or six at the top and then it is tight between the rest - and that includes Fulham who have slipped right back, and Tottenham who are only just above it."

Paul will be reunited with Matt Holland at the weekend, a player once freed by West Ham to go to Bournemouth, and he says:

"Every club has probably let someone go who has gone on to produce a big career, and Matt has a fantastic character and attitude - which is why he has gone on to do so.

"He becomes the first name that George Burley puts on his team sheet, and he has a fantastic record of not missing games as well, so credit to him.

"A decision was made that Matt needed to go off and get first team football somewhere and at that stage he couldn't get it at West Ham, but he has blossomed when he got in that first team environment."