Sunday 17 December 2017

Hammers look to away form

West Ham are not afraid of their favourites tag as they head into the Championship play-offs, according to assistant boss Neil McDonald.

Cardiff manager Malky Mackay says his side, who finished sixth, 11 points behind the Hammers, are underdogs going into tonight's semi-final first leg in Wales.

And Sam Allardyce's right-hand man McDonald is confident West Ham have quickly shrugged off the disappointment of missing out on automatic promotion to Southampton last Saturday.

"In our heart of hearts we always knew Southampton would win their last game," said McDonald.

"We were more disappointed when we drew at Bristol City before that in a game we needed to win. But the boys are in really good spirits and we are all ready for the game. There's a great atmosphere and good competition for places.

The Hammers head along the M4 having won a club record 13 games on the road this season and on the back of two successive home wins, including a 6-0 drubbing of Brighton.

Key players like Carlton Cole, who scored twice in Saturday's 2-1 victory over Hull, Kevin Nolan and Ricardo Vaz Te also appear to be coming into form at just the right time.

"Over our last six games we have had our three top scorers, Carlton, Kevin and Ricardo, score most of the goals and if we can keep that going that would be fantastic," added McDonald.

"Hopefully, our away form will intimidate Cardiff.

"And if we get a good result there the whole place will lift because the supporters have been fantastic over the last two home matches. The momentum is there."

Cardiff v West Ham,

Live, Sky Sports 1, 7.45

Irish Independent

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