Bigger And Better?

Steve Bywater says West Ham are a bigger club than Ipswich - but emphasises that means nothing if they don't prove they are the best team on the pitch on Tuesday evening.

"It will be a better atmosphere than it was on Saturday and it will give us a lift, give us that extra 10%, and we will get into the final," he says.

"It is the difference in clubs; no disrespect to Ipswich, which is a nice club, but this is a lot bigger club and hopefully we can beat them by a couple of clear goals just to show them that we are a better team than other sides in the playoffs.

"If we do our best I know we will beat them; it is half time, and 90 minutes to score one goal is nothing - we have got a lot more to show."

Has he practised penalties in the eventuality that the tie goes the distance?

"No, I think we will win; I want a clean sheet and we will beat them by two or three goals.

"Hopefully they can't get much better than the first game and with the crowd behind us we can - the roof will go off if we score a goal; then it will be game on."

Analysing the match at Portman Road - and thank goodness it wasn't a repeat of the last time a Joe Royle faced West Ham in a two legged cup tie when, in 1990, his Oldham side beat the Hammers 6-0 in the first leg of a League Cup final, before losing 3-0 in the return leg - Steve says:

"Maybe it was a bit of a nervy game with it being the first of the playoff games but the lads did all right and the pitch was beautiful.

"I think we controlled them for the first half an hour; they didn't have many chances but we definitely outdid them in the first half.

"Then they just got the one goal in the second half from a rebound off the bar - but it is only 1-0, there are another 90 minutes, and I am confident of the lads' ability to do well.

"The goal? He has just come across and hit it onto the bar and by the time it had bounced and then gone in I'd had no time to get up."

Steve is staying typically cool about the second leg, and adds:

"It is just another game, really; you are not playing for points but you have to focus for 90 minutes and give it your best.

"It doesn't matter if it is a World Cup qualifier or final, every game is the same and you have to concentrate.

"There was a lot of room in the first leg and Jim Magilton played well, running their team, but we will create a lot more chances at Upton Park - and with the crowd behind us Ipswich might leak a few goals in."