Paul's Preview

Paul Goddard is hoping West Ham can go on an Ipswich-like run of wins - and surge clear at the top of the table.

When West Ham went to Portman Road earlier in the season to secure a win, the club where Paul used to be youth team coach occupied a lowly position in the table.

Since then, Joe Royle has inspired them to an excellent sequence of victories, although they did lose at home to Norwich on Saturday.

"It is a real tough game in the league which is getting tighter and tighter and tighter - it is there for anyone who can get a good run going together," he says.

"I think they won six or seven games in a row and if you do that in this league you gallop up the league - if we could do it from where we are we would be clear at the top."

Of the game itself, Paul adds:

"It is one of the hardest games we have got - they are a good footballing side, they are playing well at the moment, and they are confident though they lost to Norwich."

Paul hopes that the players can start at a good tempo as they did against Walsall on Saturday, and he reflects:

"I thought the boys were excellent in the first half and to play that amount of time with 10 men meant a lot of hard work.

"There was some good football but we just couldn't hold out, but credit to Walsall - they got a lot of men forward and were a threat.

"With Merson floating around spare as he was they could always have a chance, though we had a couple of opportunities on the break and couldn't take one - and you always felt we needed to.

"We had a couple of chances where we could have squared people in in the second half and we didn't quite do that but you just have to take it on the chin and go on to the next one.

"The performance was positive and we were on the front foot from the start of the game.

"Without doubt I think if we had had 11 men we would have gone on to win, and that is no disrespect to Walsall.

"I just feel that is how we started the game and how we looked - we had a good air about us."