West Bromwich Albion will aim to win their seventh Premier League home match this season when they tackle West Ham United on Sunday.
The Hawthorns has proved to be a formidable fortress for Steve Clarke’s West Brom side, with Manchester City and Stoke the only teams from eight visiting sides to claim maximum points at the venue.
West Brom, sixth on the table with 26 points, will need to improve on their recent league outings to maintain their impressive home form.
They have yet to enjoy a league win in December and manager Clarke is determined to get his side’s season back on track, starting with West Ham.
“I said there will come a time when results would go against us, as they have done in the last three, so now we need to stand up and be ready for the next challenge,” he told the Birmingham Mail.
“I never said it was going to be sweetness and light all season,” said Clarke, who is waiting on the availability of Ben Foster (groin), Claudio Yacob (hamstring) and Liam Ridgewell (ankle).
“The next seven or eight games – especially those coming up over the festive period – will shape whether we have a good season or a really good season.”
West Ham manager Sam Allardyce, meanwhile, has problems of his own as he tries to get the club back to winning ways.
West Ham have won only two of their past eight league matches, with one of those victories a 1-0 triumph at Newcastle last month.
Senegal midfielder Mohamed Diame is expected to miss the next three months of the season after tearing his hamstring in Sunday’s 3-2 home defeat to Liverpool.
But Irish defender Joey O’Brien refused to be dragged into the gloom and doom, confidently stating his belief that West Ham can pick up a positive result at West Brom.
“Our aim now is to get back on track against West Bromwich Albion,” he told the club’s website.
“We want to take the points but it is a hard place to go and they have a good home record.
“Hopefully we can get a result but, as you saw against Liverpool, the top teams can produce little bits of magic and you are suddenly behind.”
O’Brien admitted, however, that first-team injuries could prove decisive at West Brom, with six regulars out, including on-loan striker Andy Carroll.
“Carlton Cole has come in with Andy Carroll missing and he has been unbelievable. We will miss Mo Diame but we have players like Gary O’Neil who are waiting to come in,” O’Brien said.