Town’s ex-Hammers plan to silence Upton Park crowd
EAST End boys Lee Bowyer and Jimmy Bullard have urged their Town team mates to use the “hostile” Upton Park crowd to their advantage.
Improving Ipswich Town tonight go to Championship favourites West Ham looking to build on a run of just one defeat in four matches.
And they will be able to call on some ex-Hammers in their camp with both Bowyer and Bullard boyhood West Ham fans – the former spending two-and-half seasons at the club.
Having seen the atmosphere generated by home fans, both positive and negative, Bowyer said: “The crowd definitely let you know when they are not happy so if we can keep them quiet in the first half, and maybe nick a goal, we can see how things go.”
And Bullard, who was signed by Harry Redknapp but never made an appearance during his three years at West Ham, added: “West Ham is a hostile place.
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“When it is going well, it is going well. But in that sort of stadium, the start means a lot and if you can get a good one, you can dictate the game. It is a great place to go and play football and there will be a great atmosphere under the lights.”
The message was backed up by Blues boss Paul Jewell who said: “It’s going to be tough because they’ve got a top class manager and arguably the best team in the division, but our job is to go there and make the atmosphere as quiet and as edgy as possible.
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“But it’s a game I want my players to embrace. We are going there looking to get a result, not simply enjoy the occasion.”
Born in East Ham, there will be something of split loyalties for the Bullard family with the midfielder admitting tonight’s match divides his camp.
But the 32-year-old, who believes he is now reaching full match fitness, insisted: “West Ham is a great club but I won’t be supporting them tomorrow. I play for Ipswich and hopefully we are going to get three points.”
* For Dave Gooderham’s views on Town’s rather different holding midfielder, read his latest ITFC blog at www.greenun24.co.uk/blogs