Matty's Repeat Performance

MATTY Etherington has some fond memories of this fixture last season.

It was the Play-off semi-final at Upton Park against Ipswich last season when the 24-year-old winger made himself a hero among Hammers fans with a wonder goal to top a match-winning performance.

But while he would welcome a repeat performance of West Ham United's display that day, Matty cautions that Saturday's match will be a very different affair.

"Obviously I've got really good memories of the game from last season," he said. "I don't think there's anyone connected with West Ham who doesn't. It was a fantastic match to be involved in, the atmosphere was incredible and hopefully we'll be saying something similar about Saturday's match afterwards.

"But we're not looking too much at that game because this is a totally different occasion. Again the atmosphere is going to be really crucial and we're all looking forward to playing in front of a packed Upton Park.

"As a player, you want to perform on the biggest stage possible and I think the stadium is going to be fantastic on Saturday. It'll be a different feeling from last season because this is an afternoon game and of course it isn't crucial in terms of we'll have another leg on Wednesday.

"But it's still really important that we have a good start to the game and we use the crowd and the stadium to our advantage."

Matty is also hoping that the team can take advantage of any mental setbacks Ipswich might be feeling after coming so close to automatic promotion, only to miss out on the final day of the season.

"That's obviously got to be a blow and we're hoping we can take advantage of that," he said. "If it is going to affect them I think it will be in the early stages of the game, and that along with the crowd behind us, we can hopefully have an impact on them early on and get them on the back foot.

"Having said that, there is a lot of football to play over two legs and we can't rely on the fact that Ipswich might play badly. We've got to play well and if we can perform to the top of our game over the two legs then we'll have a good chance of coming out on top.

"This is a massive game over two legs and until we're through it no one is even considering possibilities for the Final."