Matt: We'll show no fear

LOAN star Matt Elliott looked ahead to tonight's do-or-die clash at Upton Park and immediately dismissed the fear factor.They don't come any more experienced than the giant central defender whom boss Joe Royle has showered with praise in recent weeks.

LOAN star Matt Elliott looked ahead to tonight's do-or-die clash at Upton Park and immediately dismissed the fear factor.

They don't come any more experienced than the giant central defender whom boss Joe Royle has showered with praise in recent weeks.

The 35-year-old former Scotland star's loan spell from Leicester will extend to 12 appearances with this evening's play-off semi-final, second leg.

And he doesn't believe that anyone in the Ipswich ranks should be too apprehensive ahead of what West Ham boss Alan Pardew has promised will be a hostile backdrop.


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Elliott said: “It doesn't matter if there are 10,000 or 100,000 at a game, players can shut it out. You just concentrate on the game and it bypasses you.

“I can understand there will be a full house and that the majority will be cheering for West Ham, but in the second leg of a semi-final you expect that.

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“It wouldn't matter where we were playing, we would expect a big crowd making a lot of noise, but to a certain extent you can switch off.”

Elliott may have made an outstanding contribution to the Town cause, only featuring twice on a losing side since his debut at Walsall in mid-March.

But he has yet to break his scoring duck and it would be unusual if he completed a campaign without at least one goal to his credit.

He added: “Throughout my career I've scored a reasonable number and I like to think I can cause the opposition keeper a bit of trouble.

“It hasn't been happening of late, so I hope it's a case of saving one for tonight.”

Elliott is expecting a similar game to Saturday's first leg, when Darren Bent's 57th minute header proved decisive.

He added: “We are two evenly-matched, attack-minded sides and we both know it's in the balance. We have a slight advantage, but West Ham won't be too devastated at only being one down.

“I think we know what to expect and, as I said earlier, I think we can handle it.”

Ipswich's only doubt is Elliott's defensive partner, John McGreal, after he suffered a calf strain at the weekend.

McGreal will travel to London today and, if he fails to make it, Richard Naylor is favourite to fill in at the back, with Royle then having to choose between Dean Bowditch and Shefki Kuqi as Bent's strike partner.

West Ham may make changes, with Scotland midfield star Don Hutchison hoping to have recovered from a groin strain and full-back Rufus Brevett in line to start his first game for nine months after a serious foot injury.

SQUADS

WEST HAM: Bywater, Repka, Melville, Dailly, Mullins, Harewood, Lomas, Carrick, Etherington, Zamora, Connolly, Ferdinand, Reo-Coker, Hutchison, Brevett, McAnuff, Deane and Srnicek.

IPSWICH: Davis, Wilnis, Elliott, McGreal, Richards, Wright, Miller, Westlake, Magilton, Naylor, Bent, Santos, Reuser, Bart-Williams, Kuqi, Bowditch, Diallo, Armstrong and Price.

Referee: Neale Barry (Scunthorpe).

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