Tony On Tie

Tony Gale insists it is good that the second leg of the play-off semi-finals is at home.

"It is a definite advantage, especially as our game at Upton Park will be under the lights," he says.

Analysing the tie, he adds:

"I saw Ipswich last week and they looked a very nervous side against Cardiff, who were the better side even though they only drew 1-1.

"But I would fancy us over two legs even though I think it will be close.

"Our little run going into it is better than the three month run of Crystal Palace or the lesser form of the other sides and I really think we have got a chance now.

"Ipswich are a good side who knock the ball about well and I think both teams would probably fancy their chances because they are very similar."

Former assistant manager Paul Goddard, now back at Ipswich, has had a chat with Joe Royle about West Ham and Tony says:

"There is not really a lot Sarge can add to what Joe Royle and Willie Donachie already know; it is just a question of who holds their bottle on the day.

"For long periods the other day Cardiff outplayed Ipswich and that was a telling factor - and I think the experience of our midfield could be the difference between the sides.

"If we get the ball down and play with Lomy and Carrick in the middle and Etherington on the left and Don on the right, and dictate that area, then over the two legs I think we will win the game.

"I'd like to see Don keep his place in midfield and whether Connors is up front with Marlon Harewood or if Bobby plays it is up to Alan to sort out.

"And there is the option of Brian Deane, but I think he will be one to add muscle late in the game.

"Midfield is the key and I think we have got the edge if we have the four that I said, but if he does decide to play Marlon on the right that could also be interesting against an inexperienced left hand side that Ipswich have.

"I always fancy us to score goals in this league and you look at their central defenders, Elliot and McGreal, they are two big boys who don't like things in behind them - and that is something we can exploit.

"We are favourites but I don't think that will make any difference; it is a close one and you wouldn't back against any of these teams.

"It really is about holding your nerve, getting a bit of luck - and playing your normal game."