Tony's Turn Around

TONY Gale admits to being as frustrated as any Hammers supporter by the team's struggle to maintain consistency this season. But the former Upton Park favourite is confident Alan Pardew's squad can turn things around over the next few months.

"To play so well and beat the top team in the League was a great achievement and proved what West Ham are capable of," said Tony. "But then to follow it up by losing at home to Sheffield United was really disappointing.

"It summed up West Ham's season so far. As it stands, we haven't won three League games in a row and that has got to change over the next couple of months.

"West Ham United, in my opinion, have one of the best squads in the Championship and are still in with a great chance of earning automatic promotion.

"But we've got to show more consistency in our performances and start to dominate the matches that we really should be winning.

"At the moment it's difficult to tell how the Hammers are going to play, week in week out, which I'm sure is really frustrating for the manager. There are a lot of positives to take from the recent performances, especially the win at Ipswich, but there are things that need to be worked on as well.

"A run of five or six games unbeaten would put West Ham right back into contention for the automatic promotion spots, and that has got to be the aim."

A positive for Alan Pardew's team is that they remain in the Play-off places without having hit their best form, and Tony believes that they must capitalise on their position in the weeks ahead.

"It's been said time and again, but the Championship really is a very close league," he explained. "West Ham have lost nine games this season, a third of their matches, which is certainly a higher figure than Alan Pardew would have wanted at this stage of the season.

"We haven't been good enough so far this season, but we're still right in the hunt for the promotion places and with a decent run of results could be in amongst the automatic spots. It really is that close and West Ham need to take advantage in the second half of the season.

"We've got the players and the set up to do it, and I'm still confident promotion is a realistic goal for the Club this season."

All the talk over the last few weeks has been about West Ham United's lack of consistency, especially when faced with so-called lesser opposition. Tony believes that not being able to win games comfortably has ingrained a nervousness that is undermining the team's performances. However, he ensues that the problem is a fixable one for Alan Pardew and his staff.

"We haven't shown the ability to win games comfortably this season," said the Sky TV pundit. "When you are always leading by the odd goal it puts pressure on the defence to hold out and causes players to make mistakes.

"We've definitely had a problem killing teams off, but that could be solved if we can get a really good win under our belts over the next month or so.

"That would give the team confidence in their ability to win well and might see us really kick on into a solid unbeaten run."
Galey believes that this weekend's FA Cup Third Round clash against Norwich could provide the perfect tonic for the Hammers.

"The players will be really looking forward to the Cup game at Upton Park," he said. "It gives them a perfect chance to banish the memory of Monday's defeat in front of the home fans.

"I've seen Norwich quite a few times this season and I still feel they are short on Premiership quality. The Canaries are a good Championship side rather than a top-flight outfit, which is why I think West Ham will have an excellent chance against them.

"It should be a really close game and the visit of a Premiership team will ensure a big crowd and a great atmosphere at Upton Park on Saturday."