West Ham v West Brom
16 March 2009
Tonight sees the Baggies face West Ham in what could be a deciding game in their season.
Should West Brom lose this game then most right thinking Baggies fans will be turning their attention to another season of toil in the Championship. However, a second away victory of the season could have the more optimistic fans dreaming of Great Escape II.
This Premier League campaign has seen Albion play well in patches but all too often they have failed to capitalise on their possession or they have lapsed so badly at the back that pub player, Curtis Davies, would look world class by comparison.
Surprisingly, some bookies have suggested that West Brom are likely to come away with a win, however, that seems highly unlikely as Gianfranco Zola has moulded a team that not only plays attractive football but also has a little steel in it.
Tony Mowbray remains upbeat on his team`s chance of pulling off another great escape. "We genuinely believe that if we get it right on the day we can accrue enough points to give ourselves a chance to get back into the pack and make life uncomfortable for the teams around us".
Meanwhile, Gianfranco Zola is wary of the threat posed by the Baggies "It is not a gimme that is for sure. First of all they are bottom of the league but they are playing well. I have seen them play a few times and they play quite good football, they have been very unlucky on a few occasions and maybe conceded some goals they could have avoided. They are a team that is alive and we need to respect that.'
West Ham Team News:
West Ham have their problems as star striker Carlton Cole is suspended whilst Jack Collison misses out through injury as do Behrami, Collins, Gabbidon and Ashton. However, Boa Morte could return along with Diego Tristan.
West Ham from: Green, Neill, Tomkins, Upson, Ilunga, Noble, Parker, Boa Morte, Kovac, Di Michele, Nsereko, Lopez, Spector, Sears, Payne, Stanislas, Lastuvka, Tristan.
Player to watch: Matthew Upson
Upson is likely to be a handful at set pieces.
West Brom Team News:
Things are looking up for the Baggies on the injury front, Jonas Olsson who has been sorely missed could return to the starting line to shore up a fragile back line. Jay Simpson is available again after missing the game against his parent club, Arsenal, however, Luke Moore has done enough to suggest that he should keep his place alongside the impressive Fortune. Roman Bednar is also available again after his back injury but he is unlikely to start.
West Brom from: Carson, Kiely, Zuiverloon, Hoefkins, Meite, Donk, Barnett, Olsson, Robinson, Cech, Morrison, Greening, Koren, Brunt, Do-Heon, Teixeira, Menseguez, Moore, Bednar, Simpson, Fortune.
Player to watch: Luke Moore
Luke Moore has shown signs of sharpness in the last couple of games and hopefully he will start to repay the £3 million fee that was paid for him in the summer.
Match Facts & Stats
The reverse game at the Hawthorns saw Zola watch from the stands following his appointment as the new West Ham manager. That game marked Jonas Olsson`s Baggies debut and saw the home side win 3-2 with goals from Morrison, Bednar and Brunt.
2-1 to the Hammers
Gary Megson returns to the Hawthorns on Saturday with his Bolton bruisers.