West Ham preview

Friday 2 November 2001

Australian international Hayden Foxe as Czech Republic central defender Tomas Repka completes his two-match suspension, while goalkeeper David James will again be on the bench.

West Ham United (from): Hislop, Schemmel, Dailly, Foxe, Soma, Sinclair, Hutchison, Carrick, Moncur, di Canio, Kanoute, Defoe, McCann, Winterburn, Kitson, Todorov, Courtois, James.

Fulham's record signing Steve Marlet has suffered a minor relapse of his knee injury but is expected to be fit, as is Lee Clark.

Fulham (from): Van der Sar, Brevett, Finnan, Melville, Goma, Clark, Collins, Legwinski, Malbranque, Davis, Taylor, Marlet, Hayles, Saha, Boa Morte.

The East End meets the West End as West Ham prepare for their first League London derby with Fulham for 21 years.

The Hammers have enjoyed a remarkable revival. Three weeks ago manager Glenn Roeder was under pressure with his side languishing in bottom but one. Three matches and three wins later just goal difference separates them from a place in the top half.

The springboard for West Ham's resurgence was a home victory over Southampton. Fulham too have had a morale boosting win against the Saints. Their 2-1 success at Craven Cottage last Saturday ended a dismal run of seven Premiership games without a win.

Fulham v West Ham Record: All Competitions: P67 West Ham wins 28 Fulham wins 25 Draw 14

* These clubs have not met in 21 years.

* Fulham won the last two League meetings. Both were in the former Second Division, 2-3 on 22 March, 1980 and 0-1 on 2 September, 1978.

* The Hammers last home win was 7-2 in the old First Division on 3 February, 1968.

* There have been some high scoring affairs in this Upton Park League fixture. Prio to that 7-2 scoreline, the Hammers won 6-1 on Bonfire Night 1966, Geoff Hurst scored four times.

WEST HAM UNITED

Current League position: 12th 14 points - 7 points above the bottom 3

Best realistic scenario at final whistle: Up 3 to 9th If win, Blackburn do better than draw at Southampton, Everton lose at Bolton. (The Hammers will go up 5 to 7th if they win by an improbable ten goal margin and Newcastle also lose at home to Villa with an equally unlikely 12 goal swing.)

Worst Scenario at final whistle: Down 3 to 15th If lose, Sunderland win at Leicester and Middlesbrough defeat Derby at the Riverside.

Sequences

WON LAST 3 - all Prem

WON LAST 3 AT HOME - all Prem

UNBEATEN AT HOME IN THE PREMIERSHIP [3 wins, 1 draw]

GONE 5 HOME LEAGUE GAMES WITHOUT DEFEAT [4 wins, 1 draw]

SCORED IN EACH OF LAST 4

Gone 16 top flight games since a score draw

Recent Form

Won 4 of last 6 - all Prem

Lost 2 of the last 5 - both Prem

Lost 5 games this campaign - 4 in the Prem

Drawn twice this season - both Prem - both goalless

Kept 5 clean sheets in 11 League and Cup games this season

Failed to score 5 times in the 11 - 4 in the Prem

Lost 8 of last 15 Premiership matches
Potential Career Milestones

If he plays, Steve POTTS will be making his 400th appearance for West Ham

If involved, Don HUTCHISON will be making the 300th League appearance of his career.

WEST HAM NOTES

* One of five Premiership clubs with an unbeaten home League record.

* West Ham have conceded most goals in a Premiership match - 7.

* Involved in one of the two highest scoring Premier League matches this season. Eight goals were registered in Blackburn's 7-1 win over West Ham at Ewood Park on 14 October, and in Manchester United's 5-3 win at Spurs on 29 September.

* The Hammers have five remaining ever presents in Michael Carrick, Christian Dailly, Shaka Hislop, Sebastian Schemmel and Trevor Sinclair. All five have started all 11 of West Ham's League and Cup games.

* Leeds and West Ham have most ever presents remaining in Premiership matches - 5 each.

FULHAM

Current League position: 14th 11 points - 2 places and 3 points below West Ham

Best Scenario at final whistle: Up 4 to 10th If win, Sunderland do no better than draw at Leicester, Everton lose at Bolton with a 2 goal swing and Blackburn lose at Southampton with a 7 goal swing.

Worst Scenario at final whistle: Down 1 to 15th If lose, and Middlesbrough get at least a point at home to Derby.

Sequences

NOT WON AWAY IN THE LEAGUE [2 draws, 2 losses]

WITHOUT AN AWAY LEAGUE VICTORY IN 6 - 4 Prem, 2 D1 [3 draws, 3 defeats]

FAILED TO KEEP CLEAN SHEETS IN EACH OF LAST 5 - 4 in Prem

Recent Form

1 win in 3 League and Cup games

1 win in last 8 League games

2 wins in 10 League games this season

4 wins from this season's 12 matches so far

3 draws in last 5 Premiership duels

Lost 3 games this season - all Prem

1 clean sheet in last 9 in all competitions

3 clean sheets this season - all Prem

Failed to score once in last 5 in all competitions

Failed to score 3 times this season - all Prem

FULHAM NOTES

One of three clubs to have drawn most home Premiership matches - 3.
One of four clubs yet to pick up an away Premier League win.

Fulham have three remaining ever presents in Steve Finnan, Steed Malbranque and Andy Melville. Only Finnan has started all 12 of the Londoners' League and Cup games.

The Barclaycard Premiership information sheet reports that Fulham have committed fewest fouls in the division - 123.

Fulham may well have other matters on their mind this weekend - at least the backroom staff. The club have confirmed that, along with QPR's Loftus Road, Upton Park is one of two grounds they are considering sharing next season while their own Craven Cottage undergoes a much-needed revamp.

The players of course will be more keen to get to the task of putting the Hammers to the sword. The Cottagers' last visit to the Boleyn Ground saw the visitors pick up a 3-2 win, although with a current shooting accuracy of just 35% it will be something of a surprise if they force Shaka Hislop to pull the ball out of the back of his net three times this weekend.

In fact this match looks more likely to be settled by a single strike, if at all, as West Ham's own standard of accuracy has been just a single percentage point better than their guests'.

One of these two teams has managed to maintain a better-than-average pass completion rate so far this term. No prizes for guessing that Fulham are that team, as their 79% distribution success rate beats that of their East London rivals by a full five percentage points.

The midfield is almost certainly where this match will be won or lost. With West Ham's Don Hutchison on top form at the moment he is sure to be pulling most of the Hammers' strings in the centre, but he will face an in-form opponent this weekend in Steed Malbranque. The Frenchman put away both Fulham's goals in their 2-1 win over Southampton, and picked up Opta's award for the performance of the weekend.

Oh the joys of being a Premiership manager. A mere two weeks ago the papers declared that Glenn Roeder's job was under severe threat following West Ham's consecutive away canings at the hands of Everton and Blackburn. And yet now, following three consecutive triumphs, our fickle friends in the media have declared that the club are back on the 'right Roed'.

Yet their excellent trio of results - including a fan-pleasing 2-1 home win over Chelsea - should not be allowed to paper over the cracks. Roeder himself will concede that there is still a long way for West Ham to go before they can be considered a quality outfit once again, although he was keen to praise his players after their excellent 3-2 win over Ipswich last weekend: "I was interested to see how the players reacted today at 1-1 as that was a test of character, but we came through it with flying colours."