Andy: No Preference

Andy Melville has no preference about who West Ham face in the play-offs - though he wouldn't mind starting the campaign at Upton Park.

"There is nobody that springs to mind; it is going to be difficult over two legs and we just want to keep the run going," says Andy, who has enjoyed a run of three games on the trot in the absence of the suspended Tomas Repka, and whose appearance against Watford took him into double figures for league starts since joining from Fulham.

"To be honest, I would rather play the second game away, though whatever you are given you have got to get on with when the time comes."

As the table currently stands, with West Ham in fourth, a trip to Crystal Palace away in the first leg would be on the cards as they occupy fifth spot.

That would see Sunderland travelling to Ipswich in the first leg.

However, West Ham could still finish fourth by winning at Wigan if Sunderland also lose at Burnley.

Ipswich entertain Cardiff while Crystal Palace travel to Coventry City.

Either Sheffield United, who travel to Preston, or Reading, who go to Watford, could also still make the play-offs if Ipswich were to lose and indeed the Blades could even go up at the expense of Palace if Iain Dowie's team lost and they overhauled the latter's goal difference, which is currently superior by just three.

Andy knows there could yet be some twists and turns and adds:

"Wigan have to beat us by four so we are not home and dry; we have kept three clean sheets and that has to be our aim again this Sunday hopefully we can win so that we are confident for the play-offs."

Andy is enjoying his football but knows that Tomas Repka is again challenging for his position now that his suspension has come to an end - as has David Connolly's.

"It is nice to have a little run in the side, to be not conceding - which is my job - and I feel a lot more comfortable in the team myself as well," he says.

"The manager has got decisions to make now and players are coming back - his job is difficult anyway but those are the decisions you have to make."

He reckons West Ham are on an upward curve now and explains:

"Over the last couple of games we have got the ball down and passed it and we can live with Premiership sides, I have no doubt - it is just sometimes that we lose battles, which we are fed up of saying.

"We have been a little bit inconsistent since I have been at the club, but we are on a roll now, though, and hopefully we can keep that going."

He is understandably guarded about discussing the squad's chances of doing well in the Premiership, though, and adds:

"There is so much ability in the squad, you can see that when you look around the dressing room, but we can't be talking about the Premiership now; first and foremost we have some hard work to do in the play-offs."

He reckons the players are not finding the pressure to be adverse and adds:

"It is good pressure and we have to make the most of it; everyone is positive and we have shown in the last three games that there is no nerves there.

"We have had the courage to get the ball down and pass, which sometimes we might have lacked earlier in the season - sometimes that requires more bravery than fighting for the ball.

"I enjoyed it on Saturday; the lads were brilliant, got it down and passed it, and they couldn't match us on the day.

"There was a good tempo to the game and everyone was pleased with the performance and the result."

Andy concludes that the fans at Upton Park deserve the best and says:

"They have been brilliant since I came to the club though I am still getting to know them; another 34,000 got right behind us on Saturday.

"They have travelled all over the country and they deserve everything they get - so hopefully we can provide for them."

The first leg of the play-offs is either Friday, 14th May - in which case the second leg is definitely Monday, 17th May - or Saturday, 15th May, which would mean the second leg would be on Tuesday, 18th May.

Kick-off times are 7:45 for the evening games and 12:15 for the Saturday game and the decisions about who plays when will be based on TV requirements.

If West Ham make the playoff final on Saturday, 29th May, Christian Dailly will be released from international duty for the friendlies with Estonia and Trinidad & Tobago on 27th and 30th May.