Andy's Home From Home

Andy Melville knows a thing or two about the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff - and reckons it will suit the Hammers fans right down to the ground.

As all but the most expensive hotels fill up already - one, so far ticketless, supporter from Iceland booked his accommodation in Cardiff BEFORE Tuesday's win over Ipswich - Andy says the stadium is a magnificent arena for the play-off final.

Normally, of course, Andy would be wearing the red of Wales so to be stepping out in the claret and blue of West Ham will be a new experience for him.

"I have played there many times and it is a fantastic stadium; there will be two sets of good fans going there and our fans will be right behind us like they have been all season.

"It is normally a pretty good pitch and we are the first of the play-offs so it will have had a week to recover after the cup final.

"Hopefully we can go there and enjoy the occasion.

"They tell me it is one of the worst experiences ever to get to the final and lose but they will be saying the same thing that we are.

"We just have to make sure we get the win; we will be doing our utmost for the fans who deserve it."

There is, of course, a roof to raise at the stadium but whether West Ham's fans can top their performance of Tuesday night remains to be seen.

Can they shout any louder?

"It was an unbelievable atmosphere out there and from the word go the fans were right behind us," says Andy.

"It makes a difference because it puts us on the front foot; it makes you bang on your game and that is what all the players were."

He insists, though, that the job is not done yet, and adds:

"We went out and clapped the supporters after the game but we have to steady ourselves; we haven't won anything yet.

"We are not in the Premiership but we are 90 minutes away.

"We have given ourselves a chance and hopefully we will grab it with two hands.

"We have clawed ourselves back into it, and we have been consistent away from home as well after that form had been up and down."

He must have been shattered at the final whistle, though...

"It wasn't knackering at all, I enjoyed it; you don't think about things like that in those games - it was fast and furious," he smiles.

"The faster it is and the quicker the tempo is everybody just takes to it.

"The first game wasn't so fast because it was a boiling hot day, but on Tuesday we set the pace - and that it was what we have got to do from now on.

"It wasn't ideal coming into it 1-0 down but all the lads said to each other 'we just have to win the game.'

"Matthew has come in with a terrific goal and Christian deserves his because he has had some undeserved stick - but since he has been at the club he has been magnificent day in, day out.

"He always gets his head in there where it hurts and he was right there in the mix to get an important goal for us.

"Mattie has had a great season; he is a top drawer player who belongs in the Premiership, and you could see that on Tuesday with some of the quality he brought to the game.

"There are a lot of Premiership players in our dressing room who deserve to be in the top flight."