Luke's Big Game Best

LUKE Chadwick believes Hammers can draw on some big match experience this season as they go into the Play-off semi finals against Ipswich Town.

Hammers have an impressive recent record against the Tractor Boys, having put them out at this stage of the Play-offs last season and taken four points off them in this campaign.

"We've had some very good results and also some excellent performances against the bigger teams this season," he explained. "I think we've responded well to the big game atmosphere this season and that gives us plenty of confidence going into Saturday.

"Our one disappointment recently has perhaps been the Sunderland game, but we beat them at the Stadium of Light and more importantly have done well against Ipswich so far this season.

"They are definitely an excellent side. They play good football and they'll come to Upton Park looking to put us under pressure early on. But we feel that if we play to our full potential then we've got every chance of beating them over two legs.

"It won't be easy. Both matches will be huge and in Play-off situations the tension is always massive. But we've played in a lot of big games this season, and the Club has got experience of the Play-offs from last season which will prove invaluable this time around."

No doubt those who were involved will recall the defeat of Ipswich in last season's semi-finals and crucially the atmosphere stirred up on a memorable night at Upton Park in the second leg.

This time the Bolyen Ground is the first stop in the two leg semi-final, but the 24-year-old midfielder does not believe Hammers will be disadvantaged knowing they still face a trip to Portman Road.

"I don't think which way around you play makes a great deal of difference," admitted Luke. "It's really all about how you perform on the day, and both home and away we've got to make sure we're really on the top of our game.

"It's not vital that we get a win in the first leg because we showed on New Year's Day that we are more than capable of beating Ipswich at Portman Road.

"That day we won 2-0 and were much the better side. Of course, it will be a different atmosphere this time around, but it's 90 minutes against the same team you play in the home leg, so it won't be too different.

"What we are anticipating is a big atmosphere at Upton Park and obviously that's something we really want to make the most of. The crowd are incredible and if we can start well then I think Ipswich will find it difficult."

Luke scored in a friendly against Northampton this week, and is hoping to secure his involvement on Saturday after struggling to regain his place in the first-team following a hamstring injury.

"Obviously it's going to be a massive game and as a professional footballer those are the ones you really want to play in," he admitted. "I'll just have to wait and see if I'm in. Hopefully I am, because it's a game no player wants to miss out on."