Tony Cottee Column: We must get behind West Ham and inspire them to Reading victory

“The Championship is a different beast to the Premier League, where you get more time on the ball.”

It’s great to finally have something positive to write about following West Ham getting back to winning ways against Peterborough on Tuesday.

The Hammers’ away form has been magnificent this season and what made the victory that bit more impressive was the pressure that the players were under.

If we didn’t manage to win at London Road then I think we would have been really up against it to finish in the top two.

However, the win means that we are just one point behind Reading, who probably have the hardest run-in between ourselves, them and Southampton.

It was important to bounce back after five consecutive draws, and to get 11 away wins – a joint club record – is a real achievement in itself.

To emulate the success of two West Ham teams that also went on to get promotion is a fantastic feeling.

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It is hard to win away matches at any level, but Sam Allardyce has worked wonders with the team on the road.

It has been some time since the Hammers were so difficult to beat away from home and long may it continue.

We are now in a good position to break that club record with three away games still to be played, and if we do break it it will give the whole team a big boost towards the final few matches of the season.

I was pleased to see Ricardo Vaz Te back in the team on Tuesday and I really feel it is important for us to have a player like him as he offers us options.

He moves around and draws defenders in, he can play on either flank and as we saw we know he can score goals.

His versatility will prove crucial as we enter the final stage of the season.

One disappointment for me on Tuesday was the fans chanting Paolo Di Canio’s name.

It all depends on whether they were chanting it is a legendary player of times gone by or whether they were calling for him to be manager.

I just don’t understand if the fans are calling for Di Canio to take over at Upton Park.

There is no doubting that the Italian is passionate about the club and he wanted the job before Allardyce, but he is not ready for it yet in my opinion.

Every new manager needs to cut their teeth and Di Canio is doing just that at Swindon at the moment.

I understand the fan’s frustration but I don’t condone in calling for another manager as it puts unfair pressure on Big Sam and the rest of his management team, which is unnecessary.

The other chant about playing on the floor is also understandable but doesn’t help the team.

The Championship is a different beast to the Premier League, where you get more time and can show more skill.

In the Championship you don’t get as much time, so you can’t always play silky football.

This weekend is a huge game for the Hammers as Reading come to town. They are a dangerous team with some very good players, but I think if the home fans get behind West Ham they can inspire the team to victory.

It won’t be an easy game, but now is the time for the players to stand up and be counted.

Tony Cottee was talking to Nathaniel John