West Ham United can take a huge step towards Premier League safety with a home win against West Bromwich Albion on Saturday.
As league action resumes after a week of internationals, Sam Allardyce’s side will take on the in-form West Brom at home.
West Ham sit six points above the relegation zone in 14th and have one game in hand on all bar one of the six teams below them on the table.
They could climb to 11th with victory at Upton Park, where they have been impressive this season.
In 14 home fixtures, West Ham have lost just three – to Arsenal, Liverpool and Tottenham – and a 3-1 win over Chelsea in December showed what they are capable of in east London.
They have struggled to score this term though, with just 32 goals in 29 matches. Only four teams (QPR, Stoke City, Norwich City and Aston Villa) have netted less.
That has led Allardyce to pursue Ivorian Wilfried Bony, who is an off-season transfer target.
Bony has been in stunning form in the Eredivisie this season, bagging 26 strikes in just 24 matches for Vitesse Arnhem.
For now though, West Ham will have to make-do with the likes of Carlton Cole (two goals in 24 appearances), Liverpool loanee Andy Carroll (three goals in 16), Modibo Maiga (two goals in 16) and Ricardo Vaz Te (one goal in 16).
Marouane Chamakh, who joined on loan from Arsenal in January, may be asked to feature up front as well.
West Ham have lost three of their last four matches but should be much more competitive in this fixture.
Still pushing for a European spot, West Bromwich Albion sit eighth on the table and an away win could lift them above Liverpool.
Steve Clarke’s men have lost just one of their last five but they have not been at their best on the road in recent times.
Belgian striker Romelu Lukaku, who is at the club on a season-long loan from Chelsea, has been excellent this season and his 13 Premier League goals leave him equal-sixth on the league’s scoring charts.
Clarke will be without Hungarian attacker Zoltan Gera (knee) for some time but Stephen Reid (groin) is a chance to return for the fixture.
West Ham are hopeful of having midfield trio Joe Cole, Mark Noble and Kevin Nolan fit from hamstring, arm and ankle issues respectively.
The last four fixtures between the two sides have been draws, with West Brom not having won at Upton Park since 2003.
That match was one of the club’s most memorable English Premier League wins though, as they came back from 3-0 down to win 4-3 thanks to a late Lee Hughes strike.
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