Home Is Where The Heart Is

Matthew Etherington says the players must start to get the winning habit at home.

He knows that an excellent unbeaten away sequence needs to be matched by stringing some results together at home where only five victories have been recorded thus far this season, and he says:

"It was very good to get back to back wins away but you have to maintain that on Saturday in front of what will probably be a full house.

"We haven't been doing the fans justice at home lately; we are doing all right away from home but it seems our home form is slipping up slightly - and we will be looking to put that right on Saturday.

"The crowd expect more and it is full; they demand Premiership football and they assume we will beat teams that come to us so, there is probably a little more pressure on - but we have to deal with that.

"It is a massive club West Ham, and we know that - so if you want top put the shirt on you have to cope with that."

At least Matthew will be able to play on a better surface against Preston after playing on something of a cabbage patch at the JJB stadium last weekend.

"It was a deserved win, hard fought, and we had to dig out a result on an awful pitch," he says.

"It affected my game but you get days like that and I had to do a job for the team.

"Obviously I couldn't get the ball down - it was definitely the worst pitch I have played on this season and of course we have to go back there and do the same thing at the end of the season.

"It was very boggy and heavy on your legs but we had to just deal with it - and that is what we did.

"We won the game with two great finishes and we were all delighted to get into the next round."

Matthew says the side can cope without Jermain Defoe and Brian Deane, adding:

"We have got great strikers up there in Marlon and Conners and Neil Mellor who did well at the start of the season; we have strength in depth in the strikers' department even if not having Deano and Jermain is a big loss.

"Neil did well when he came on and is looking sharp after being out for a long while - he has got a lot of quality and you see that in training."