Marlon Rises To The Occasion

MARLON Harewood is unquestionably a player who relishes playing on the big stages.

And the 25-year-old striker, who set up both goals for Bobby Zamora in the fantastic 2-0 victory at Portman Road, believes the Play-off semi-final win proves that Alan Pardew's squad are comfortable performing in the most tense and dramatic of atmospheres.

That mentality will be crucial as Pards prepares his team for another Millennium Stadium showdown, and this time Marlon is determined that the team will show their true colours when it comes to the big day.

"The Ipswich game was incredible," he beamed. "A lot of people said we were up against it after the first leg, but within the squad there was still a lot of confidence and we always believed that we could do it.

"Ipswich came at us early on, but the team stayed strong we kept our shape really well and Bobby scored two brilliant goals to seal the win.

"I think the performance we gave on the night proves that when it comes to the big games we've got the players to cope. We've shown this season that on our day we can beat anyone in the League, and that will be a positive thing for us to take to Cardiff this time around.

"We've got experience of the Play-off Final from last season, and the memory of that day will certainly be spurring us on this time around.

"It's another great chance for us to make the Premiership and achieve something that all the fans want. This time we're determined to take it."

Marlon also had nothing but praise for strike partner Bobby Zamora, who he set up for a magnificent double that secured West Ham United's place in the Final.

"Bobby took his goals really well," he said, "especially the second. That was a great strike, but Bobby's a class player and he knows how to score goals.

"I saw him pull off the defender, so I sent the ball over the top and I was backing Bobby to put that one away.

"The win at Ipswich will have given all the lads confidence and hopefully we can take that into the Final."