West Ham United v West Bromwich Albion – Match Preview

Upton Park

In a week that has been dominated by their move to the Olympic Stadium and the future of their manager its imperative that West Ham stay focused on the present. With manager Sam Allardyce confirming he will sign a new contract when Premier League survival is assured the message is clear. Despite four defeats in their last six Allardyce believes two wins from their remaining nine games will be enough to ensure the Hammers remain a top-flight club. Five home matches make up the bulk of their run-in starting with West Brom on Saturday and a win would put them well on the road to safety with Wigan, Newcastle and Reading all visiting Upton Park before the campaign is out.

The Baggies aren’t to be underestimated though as many clubs have found out already this season. Steve Clarke, formerly a number two at West Ham under Gianfranco Zola, has thrived in his debut season as a manager guiding the Midlands club to eighth. Qualifying for Europe is the objective now for Albion and can close in on the top-six with victory in east London. It would also see them reach their highest Premier League points total of 47 with seven games left to play.

Team News

Kevin Nolan (toe) and Joe Cole (hamstring) are fit to return for West Ham but fellow midfielder Mark Noble (shoulder) is out.

James Morrison (hamstring) is a major doubt for West Brom after he was forced to withdraw from the Scotland squad in midweek.

What the managers said…

“I don’t think we have to wait until we’re quite mathematically safe, with 38 points both parties would say that is enough this season. Hopefully we can get to 38 as quick as possible and hopefully get to 40 points if we can. It’s disappointing that we haven’t secured safety already with our concentration and sometimes lack of goals. It’s made us linger on this subject and we want to get it out of the way and look at next season” Sam Allardyce says he will sign a new deal at West Ham when safety is guaranteed (Daily Mail)

“We are professional, we want to finish as high as we can with as many points as we can. The next target for us is to get more points than we did in the last two seasons which is 47. If we win at the weekend we will equal that, and it will give us seven games to better it. For anyone to question our commitment or our desire to do well for the last eight games is wrong.” Steve Clarke is adamant West Brom have plenty to play for in the last two months of the season (Independent)

Pre-Match Statistic: West Brom will match their best-ever Premier League points total of 47 (set in 2010/11 and 2011/12) should they beat West Ham.

Prediction: West Ham United 1-1 West Bromwich Albion

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