Slaven Bilic believes West Ham need to be wary of the attacking quality of relegation-threatened Newcastle United when they visit St James’ Park in the Premier League on Saturday.
West Ham are just a point outside the top four having eased to a 3-1 win over AFC Bournemouth on Tuesday and can have reason for confidence of recording a fourth-straight top-flight win this weekend.
The London club, who are unbeaten in their last nine games, had little difficulty in seeing off Newcastle 2-0 in the reverse fixture back in September.
However, the corresponding fixture from last season harbours fond memories for Newcastle, whose 2-0 home win on the final day secured survival.
And the Tynesiders, who are a point behind 17th-placed Swansea City, should enter this contest in high spirits having come from 2-0 and 3-2 down to draw 3-3 with Manchester United in midweek.
“They [Newcastle] had a slow start but now they are doing okay,” Bilic said. “They are a massive club, they are improving, they have a very good roster of players. Going forward they have many options, they are very dangerous.
“They had a good comeback against Man United so they are on a high. It should be a good game, at a great stadium so we are really looking forward to it.”
West Ham have suffered a blow with the news that former Newcastle striker Andy Carroll is expected to be out for a month with a hamstring injury picked up in the win at Bournemouth.
Carroll joins Manuel Lanzini (groin) and Diafra Sakho (thigh) on the sidelines. Victor Moses is back from a hamstring problem and Cheikhou Kouyate could feature having been rested against Bournemouth due to a knock.
Newcastle’s new signings Jonjo Shelvey and Henri Saivet are likely to be involved as the hosts aim to climb out of the bottom three.
Shelvey and Saivet boost a side that has been ravaged by injuries, with a host of first-team players unavailable to Steve McClaren.
Midfielder Vurnon Anita is still struggling with a hamstring problem, Papiss Cisse (groin) is out and Florian Thauvin and Kevin Mbabu both picked up knocks in last weekend’s FA Cup defeat to Watford.
Rolando Aarons (ankle) and Emmanuel Riviere (knee) are closing in on making their returns, but defender Mike Williamson (hamstring) is unavailable along with long-term absentees Massadio Haidara (knee) and Gabriel Obertan and Steven Taylor (both hamstring).
Key Opta stats:
– West Ham have won just one of their last 12 Premier League trips to St James’ Park (W1 D5 L6).
– The Hammers have failed to score in three of their last four trips to Newcastle in the Premier League.
– The Magpies have failed to score in five of their last seven Premier League games against West Ham.
– Since losing 0-2 at Newcastle on the final day last season, West Ham have lost just twice away in the Premier League (W5 D4 L2).
– All eight of Georginio Wijnaldum’s goals for Newcastle have been scored at St James’ Park.
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