Mattie Flattered

Matthew Etherington admits he was surprised to be awarded Hammer of the year for this season - but hopes to add to it by helping West Ham get promotion.

Mattie was handed the trophy at the Supporters' club on Thursday and he says:

"I can't say I expected it but I am delighted with it; things have gone quite well for me personally - and this tops it off.

"The award is from the fans and obviously they are the ones that watch week in, week out - they are loyal to us and to get the award definitely means a lot to me.

"If promotion followed on it would be a very good year.

"I have been happy with the way things have gone and I feel I have been fairly consistent."

So who would he have voted for - assuming, of course, he was a fully paid-up member of the Supporters' club?

"I think Michael Carrick has done well, he has really been brilliant in the last four or five months, and I think David Connolly has been consistent all season, so probably one of those two."

Looking to Saturday's home crunch with Watford, he adds:

"It is a tough game; they will come with 10 men behind the ball, probably, and we will have to try and break them down.

"But it will be a good atmosphere and the crowd will be behind us knowing that we need the three points - and I am sure we will do it.

"It felt really good to be back at Stoke and it was a good three points as well; we knew we needed to win and we did that so I was over the moon.

"We know it is in our own hands against Watford and if we do so it sets us up for Wigan.

"If we can keep the momentum going, it will hold us in good stead for the play-offs, just as Wolves did last season - they hit the playoffs on a bit of a run and ended up getting through.

"I know there are some supporters who feel it would be better to stay in the first division for another season but I can't agree with that - surely it's better to watch Premiership teams, and I am sure the manager would strengthen the squad if we got up.

"It would be a massive disappointment for everyone if we didn't - this club, with 30,000 fans, deserves the best."

Is there pressure on Mattie as fans look to him to help break down stubborn first division defences?

"I suppose there is," he admits, "but it has been like that for a while now on the left.

"I just have to try and do my bit for the side - and so does everyone else."