Matty's Big Belief

MATTY Etherington is a player not short on belief, and he believes that's exactly what Hammers are going to need going into Wednesday night's Play-off semi-final second leg at Portman Road.

The winger was West Ham's star man on Saturday, setting up both first-half goals with his rampaging left-wing runs. Unfortunately, Hammers could not hold on to their advantage, but Matty insists that won't dent the team's positive attitude this week.

"We've got to remain positive," explained the 24-year-old, "that's the most important thing. After the game we were all disappointed, because we felt that we had them in the first-half.

"We were playing really well, the crowd were fantastic and they were there for the taking. But they got back into it with a fortunate goal just before half-time, which we felt the referee had a big hand in, and then came back at us in the second-half.

"But there are plenty of positives we can take from the game, especially the way we played in the first-half when Ipswich hardly got a kick.

"We've won at Portman Road as well already this season, so it's far from over for us. We've just got to believe that we can get a result, and to a man, I think we do."

Matty won rave reviews for his Play-off semi-final performances last season, and the winger was no less emphatic on Saturday, running hapless Ipswich full-back Drissa Diallo into the ground and laying on goals for Marlon Harewood and Bobby Zamora.

"I was pleased with the way I played in the first-half," he said. "I had a hand in both goals and saw plenty of the ball. On those kind of occasions you have to go out and try and make things happen, which is the way I approached the game.

"A fast start was always going to be important, and we got the best start possible with Marlon's goal, followed quickly by Bobby's.

"If we can do the same at Portman Road it will be important. It's bound to be tense and tight and there should be a great crowd up there as well.

"But if we can come at them from the kick-off that will hopefully quieten the crowd down and we can establish ourselves in the game.

"We know that we've got the ability to win at Portman Road. We just have to make sure that we get Saturday out of our heads and go into the game positive and believing in ourselves."

Matty is bound to come up against the experienced Fabian Wilnis in the second-leg, the player who did something of a hatchet job on the winger in the second-half of Saturday's first-leg. But the clash holds no fears for Matty.

"He's a good player and I've had a couple of battles with him before," he said. "I'll look forward to the challenge, because it should be a huge occasion and one that we'll all be really up for."