Let Hammers fans loose on their team

Published: 30 Mar 2012 06:300 comments

NIGEL Gibbs believes Reading's secret weapon in Saturday's clash at Upton Park could be the West Ham fans.

Laying down the gauntlet: Nigel Gibbs.

Hammers supporters have been on their players' backs after five successive home draws.

And Reading assistant manager Gibbs feels they could use that to their advantage by keeping it tight this weekend.

"They've had a few draws at home recently but we will go there and play our normal game," stated Gibbs.

"We always try and attack teams home and away and we will be doing the same on Saturday.

"But if the game progresses and West Ham aren't playing well the crowd will get on their back because they expect their team to be top of the league.

"At the start of the season everyone thought they would be there along with Leicester City but it hasn't quite worked out that way.

"They're in third position but they probably haven't had the results at home their fans wanted.

"But whatever goes on won't affect us. We will have good backing from our own fans on the day and the only thing we will worry about is ourselves."

Despite West Ham's frustrations at home, they are unbeaten in their last 11 Championship matches, though only four of those have been victories.

But whatever happens on Saturday, Gibbs believes there will be more twists and turns to come before the end of the season.

"I don't believe in six-pointers," he declared. "It's only three points at the end of the day.

"West Ham are on a good run and so are we. Where we are in the table adds a little bit more to it. We know the importance of the game and everyone is excited."

With seven matches of the season left Royals know that if they avoid defeat this Saturday then match West Ham's results over the run-in they will secure automatic promotion back to the Premier League.

Reading are one point ahead of the Hammers before the weekend's clash, with leaders Southampton a further five points clear at the top.

And now that a 10 point gap has emerged between West Ham and Brighton in fourth, Gibbs says the race to finish in the top two is between the three clubs.

"It looks like a three horse race now," he argued. "Unless someone wins all seven or eight games from here I can't see anyone catching the top three.

"It's a mini league in itself and it's going to be an exciting finish. Our players have got momentum behind them and they are relishing it.

"They're playing well and with confidence and we're the in-form team. It's important we keep that consistency until the end of the season now and there is no reason why we can't."

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