Alan: Fight The Fear

Alan Pardew says the players have to meet the challenge of playing at home head on and not be afraid of it.

He is painfully aware that too many points have been dropped at Upton Park this season and knows, too, that a full house against Rotherham will have high expectations.

"We are looking forward to it; we have put two good performances in away from home and we know we have got to put on a performance for the loyalty our fans have shown us," he insists.

"Selling out speaks volumes for the club and we don't really warrant that with our home performances - but we hope we respond to give them the result that they want.

"I have always felt that responsibility but we have stuttered at home and even when we have won it has sometimes been by the skin of our teeth.

"We are looking to put a really good performance in and as I said to the players there is no point hiding from the fact we have got a problem at home, because we have got a problem at home - we have to face it head on, face it, deal with it and overcome it.

"Only the players can do that when they cross the line and I am pretty confident in them that they can do it this week.

"We have shown the ability away from home; apart from one or two occasions we have been excellent away and we have got results that would be good enough to get promoted, but we have fallen down at home and that can't be down to ability, it can only be a mental issue.

"We need to address that and we have tried to address it as much as we could on the coaching side - but ultimately it is about the players and how they feel and we are trying to get their mentality right for the game.

"When they go into the game they need to respond to the setbacks and that has probably been our biggest downfall, that when we have had setbacks in games we haven't responded well - and that is probably the key."

And will it affect his thoughts regarding team selection, with several players potentially set for a home debut who may not, perhaps, be weighed down by the thought of past defeats at home?

"I will just pick what I feel is the best team to beat Rotherham," he says - keeping us all guessing!