Steve - No Sympathy

Steve Lomas will be hoping to break the heart of the man who encouraged his decision to join West Ham in the first place - Iain Dowie.

"I know him quite well having played with him for Northern Ireland for many a year," says Steve.

"He was at West Ham when I first came and was probably one of the big reasons why I joined the club.

"He just told me about West Ham when I was away with Northern Ireland at the time the transfer was going through - he assured me that it was a good move for me.

"Obviously I was concerned, moving from Manchester City, where I had spent seven or eight years, down to London."

The irony is that Iain, like his late father, is a Hammers supporter and Steve adds:

"He is a keen West Ham fan but I can assure you he will have them wound right up for the game on Saturday.

"He has done a fantastic job, beyond belief, really."

Steve insists that the players are in the right frame of mind and adds:

"The afternoon is for all the fans to have a great day out the point is we have got a job to do and the lads are staying focused."

Despite being pestered for tickets?

"That is always a problem, but it is done and dusted now; we have to prepare right, and look forward.

"If you look at it, the Premiership is the place to be, and after our fall last season to jump back straight away is a big thing.

"I have spent most of my career in the top flight and feel I still have a few more years left in it so I am looking forward to getting back there."

He is predicting a better spectacle than Millwall's defeat by Manchester United at the Millennium stadium on Saturday and says:

"I think the playoff final normally eclipses the FA cup, but if it is a 4-3 thriller or a 1-0 bore draw that is drab we will take it anyway because at the end of the day it is all about the result.

"They like to attack and we like to attack but the main thing is to win."

Most pundits are backing West Ham but Steve warns:

"It is the same old thing; it doesn't matter what is on paper.

"It is eleven versus eleven and who wants it the most on the day - and there may be a little bit of luck thrown in there.

"There are a lot of permutations and people can talk about who is the best team - but that normally counts for nothing.

"I am optimistic and confident, though."

* Australian fans wishing to see the game on Sky, please note the following details:

Sydney: Scruffy Murphy's SOLD OUT, Aussie Rules Club close to selling out and more capacity in Sydney being added.

Melbourne: Celtic Club tipped to sell out so more capacity close by arranged to cater for people who arrive on the night.

Brisbane: Strong sales and looks like we could go close - get in early.

Perth: Plenty of capacity.

Adelaide: No reports.

Cairns: Unconfirmed

Canberra: Calling for people to register/book on the DLA web site; if there is enough demand to make it viable then the venue will be opened.