Tony: Fans Did Well

Tony Gale is full of praise for the supporters who made two difficult trips to see the team in the last few days.

Hammers' fans who took in both games will have covered around 800 miles supporting their team and Tony says:

"It was a nightmare financially for our fans; I remember last time we played Plymouth I was injured, but it is a journey and a half.

"Cardiff is not the most pleasant of places to go, to with a bit of an atmosphere around the ground.

"They were never going to be easy games because Plymouth are fighting for their lives and Cardiff have improved."

He acknowledges that Wigan are the team to keep an eye on at the moment and adds:

"They are doing excellently; I think they have got the best strike partnership in the division in Ellington and Roberts," he says.

"I know we have Sheringham, Harewood and Zamora but I am only saying that on the weight of goals they have scored.

"They are difficult to beat - and are playing good football under Paul Jewell."

Teddy Sheringham has, of course, been missing of late, and Tony adds:

"Dare I say it, but thigh injuries are a bit harder to shake off when you are older but Ted knows how to look after his body, but I think he just has to be patient with himself.

"He is not going to lose a lot of fitness whilst he is out because he is naturally fit anyway and doesn't rely on fitness and pace and strength as his main part of his game - so, ultimately, there will be no problem."

Alan Pardew recently completed a year in charge at Upton Park and Tony comments:

"It has been up and down for him but it is a great job for him to have gone in to.

"I am sure a lot of things about the club have surprised him but he always knew it was a big club.

"Having got there and seen the feeling around the place he saw the enormity of the job; he had to sell quality players, and he obviously has bought players, so it has been a bit of a revolving door for him while he has been trying to get results, so it has not been easy.

"He is just now beginning to get his mark on the team, in that most of the players are ones he has brought in.

"If he gets us up automatically I think he will have done a very good job, and if he gets in the playoffs he will have done a good job.

"In the latter case, though, it is in the lap of the gods - as we saw last year.

"A lot of people may say we are not making the signings we did in the past with big money players and the wages to go with it - but I think West Ham fans just have to realise the facts at the moment, which is that we are a Championship side that has been down there a season.

"If we don't go up it will get even harder next season - as it does every season you are there.

"If we do go up people will then have opinions as to whether we are good enough to stay up, but it is one problem at a time - let's get up there first and then worry about it when we are there."

Next up, West Ham get a swift opportunity to avenge the recent defeat by QPR at Loftus Road when they make the journey across to east London on Saturday and, reflecting on the loss last month, he says:

"He had a few injuries for that one, but Alan will still have been disappointed that we didn't compete against a side that had more about them.

"But it is a sign of the division that since that game they have lost matches and the positions have been reversed again.

"I expect that sort of thing to happen consistently in what is going to be a close division that I think hasn't got a great deal of quality - which gives us an excellent chance to go up.

"Any win in the Championship is a good one and sides come to Upton Park making it hard to beat them, so let's hope we can."