Matt: I'll Be Strong

Matthew Etherington says he is not going to let his performance against Fulham be affected by the fact that, if West Ham do win, he will be suspended for the trip to Old Trafford as a result of his sending off on Saturday at Norwich.

"That's what makes it even more disappointing; if we do go through tonight I'll be missing a massive game, the sort of game you want to play in, all because of a decision by the referee.

"But I will still be giving my all tonight and hopefully carry on my form; I have been happy with it lately and I just want to make sure the lads get through to the next round.

"I feel really good, fit and strong, and I said when I came to West Ham I just needed a run of games and I have got that this year and think I am getting better and better."

Matt acknowledges a debt of gratitude to Alan Pardew for the way he is playing, and adds:

"He is helping my game and the thing is I feel like an important member of the team at West Ham - whereas I didn't feel that at Tottenham at all.

"That brings out an extra side to me; I feel more responsibility.

"Fulham are struggling a bit and we are doing all right, so hopefully we should be going to the game with confidence - it will be a good atmosphere and we are all looking forward to it."

As for his sending off for apparently not placing the ball properly in the quadrant for a corner, he adds:

"I read the referee's comments and I think to book someone for something like that is ridiculous - but it is one of those things and you have to get on with it.

"He was telling me to put the ball back and it was actually in the quadrant - it was fine, it was legitimate, and that is what I was saying to him.

"The fans were winding him up behind the goal and I think he took the bait, to be honest.

"I couldn't believe it when I saw the red; I started laughing, and I just couldn't understand it, but we all have bad games, I suppose.

"There were a few fouls early on in the game that he didn't give and I just think those things didn't go my way.

"Even the first yellow was harsh; I had a few of them on me that went unpunished, but there's nothing I can do about it."

A few years ago a change was made to the wording of the Laws of the Game concerning the field markings.

Before the change was made the laws stated that the whole of the ball had to be placed within the corner arc before a corner could be taken, but according to the current wording it is sufficient if the ball merely touches the line that makes the arc.

[A ball is not out of play until the whole of the ball is outside the touch-line and, similarly, the ball is within the corner arc unless the whole of the ball is outside it].

Thanks to UEFA referee [and Hammers fan] Gylfi Orrason from Iceland for that reminder.

Meanwhile, Peter Grant is anticipating the cup replay with relish, and he says:

"We are all looking forward to it but it is going to be a difficult game for us; Fulham are probably a team that plays better away from home so we know it is a heck of a job still on our hands.

"Every single game at this club is important; you have got to win every game from the start to the end of the season if you can.

"It is going to take a real performance to win this one."