Matty's Must Win Game

MATTY Etherington has admitted Hammers face a must-win game with the trip to Stoke City on Tuesday.

But the winger insists Alan Pardew's men can still secure a Play-off place, even if they have to rely on the fortunes of the teams above them.

"We have to win at Stoke," confessed the 23-year-old midfielder. "It's our game in hand over Reading, and being four points behind them, we need the win to put us back in touch.

"We can definitely still achieve a Play-off place. But right now no one is looking past the Stoke game, because that's the crucial match. If we get a result up there we'll be back in with a very good chance, and psychologically it will put the pressure back on the teams above us.

"People have been saying for the last few weeks that we've got a game in hand, and while we've got that then we'll always be in with a chance. Well, this is our game in hand and we've got to win it."

Matty admitted that Hammers enjoyed enough attacking possession to have beaten Millwall on Saturday. Returning to the side after a three-game absence the winger set-up Marlon Harewood for West Ham's 35th minute equaliser. But he was disappointed not to see the team create more openings in the second-half.

"The goal was a good move and well finished by Marlon," he said. "We had a lot of possession in good areas, but didn't make it count. We lacked a real killer ball at times and they defended well when it mattered.

"But that was our sixth game unbeaten and there's still plenty of confidence around the team at the moment. After the run we've been on recently, one draw is certainly not enough to dent our belief.

"Spirits are high going into the Stoke game and we're confident that if we play to our strengths then we can come away with a result.

"We know it's a tough place to go and they're sure to make it difficult for us. They had a good home win at the weekend against Plymouth and no doubt they'll be buzzing.

"Everyone's up for the game, though. The players know how important this game is and we've got to be totally focused on coming away with three points."