Saturday, March 15

Daily WHUFC News - 15th March 2014

Big Sam named Manager of the Month
Sam Allardyce has been named Barclays Manager of the Month for February

West Ham United manager Sam Allardyce has been named as the Barclays Premier
League Manager of the Month for February. The Hammers enjoyed a perfect
February, winning four games from four and rising eight places in the league
table to move away from the bottom three and into the top half. Big Sam's
team were in fine form at both ends of the pitch, hitting the back of the
net nine times in the month, while Adrian's goal was breached only once -
and even that came in vain for Southampton as the Hammers came roaring back
to win 3-1. The 59-year-old becomes the first West Ham boss to land the
prize since Alan Pardew in February 2006 and he was delighted to collect the
trophy at the Club's Chadwell Heath training base. He said: "It's a
fantastic time to win this award and of course the players and the staff
take as much credit as I do, because that month of February was so needed by
everybody who supports West Ham and who works at West Ham because of the
predicament we found ourselves in. "I always said that when we overcame our
injuries we would put things right and we couldn't have done any better than
winning every game in February. "To win this fantastic award from Barclays,
I appreciate it myself and on behalf of everybody else at West Ham."

Before February began, a glance at the fixture list and the clearing
treatment room suggested that West Ham's results would improve with three
home matches and a trip to mid-table Aston Villa. But was even Big Sam
surprised to see his team produce a run of four straight victories? "I think
we were, because statistically we had not won back-to-back Barclays Premier
League games in our time back, then we managed to do it and carry it on into
four wins on the trot and five wins out of six. "The only blip in the middle
was losing to to Newcastle at home. February was a fantastic month but
unfortunately we lost by the odd goal at Everton at the start of March. Even
though we lost that game, we want to make this month a good one as well."

West Ham's perfect February began with a 2-0 victory over Swansea City.
Kevin Nolan and Andy Carroll rekindled their fruitful partnership to
devastating effect, as the Hammers No9 laid on both goals for his skipper.
West Ham's joy was tempered slightly by Carroll's harsh red card, but they
were to overcome his loss with three more winning performances in the month.
Next up were Aston Villa, and another Nolan brace - with both goals coming
within three minutes of the start of the second period - was enough to give
the Hammers their first back-to-back Premier League wins since their return
to the top flight in 2012.
2-0 was becoming a familiar scoreline for Big Sam and his team, with Norwich
City becoming the latest team to be defeated by that margin in the third
game of February. The Canaries proved a tough nut to crack until James
Collins' 84th-minute header broke the deadlock. Mo Diame sealed the victory
in stoppage time.
West Ham then completed a clean sweep of wins for February by recovering
from a goal down to defeat Southampton 3-1 with Matt Jarvis, Carlton Cole
and Nolan on target.

A West Ham manager has only claimed this honour three times since the
inception of the Premier League in 1992, with Pardew's 2006 success
following awards for Harry Redknapp in November 1998 and Glenn Roeder in
March 2003. Big Sam has enjoyed more success, however, with the latest
honour meaning he has now been named Premier League Manager of the Month on
five occasions - only Sir Alex Ferguson, Arsene Wenger, David Moyes, Martin
O'Neill, Harry Redknapp, Rafael Benitez and Bobby Robson have been more

Stoke City match preview
All the need-to-know information ahead of Saturday's Barclays Premier League
match against Stoke City



. West Ham United return to Barclays Premier League action away to Stoke
City on Saturday as they look to get back to winning ways following a 1-0
defeat against Everton at Goodison Park last time out.
. Romelu Lukaku's late goal inflicted the Hammers' first defeat in over a
month, since a 3-1 loss at home to Newcastle on 18 January.
. Four straight wins in February, including an away success against Aston
Villa, combined with a draw against Chelsea, meant Sam Allardyce's side had
gone five matches without defeat before their trip to Merseyside.
. The Club's fine form over the course of February means they head to the
Britannia Stadium in tenth position in the Premier League, two places above
Stoke although the two clubs are level on 31 points.
. On the Hammers' last trip to play the Potters, a single goal from Jack
Collison was enough to secure all three points and end a run of five
consecutive away defeats.
. Stoke are now under the guidance of Mark Hughes, who saw his team emerge
victorious at the Boleyn Ground back in August courtesy of Jermaine
Pennant's free-kick.
. The Potters have been hard to beat of late, losing only once in their last
six league matches, the loss coming in the shape of a 1-0 defeat to
Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium.
. Hughes' side have also won two of their last three home matches, earning
impressive victories against Manchester United and more recently Arsenal in
their last home outing.
. Jonathan Walters netted a penalty as Stoke earned a 1-1 draw away to
Norwich City in their last Premier League match, before he was later
. The Hammers' next Premier League goal will be their 800th at that level.
In the games the notched all the previous century milestones, they have
remained unbeaten.

Team news
West Ham United
. Joey O'Brien is the Hammers' only long-term injury absentee as he
continues his recovery from the dislocated shoulder he suffered against
Chelsea in January.
. Marco Borriello will also miss out on Saturday after failing to recover
from a calf injury to face the Potters.

Stoke City
. Jonathan Walters will miss Saturday's clash after picking up a red card
against Norwich City last weekend.

Last time out
Norwich City 1-1 Stoke City
Barclays Premier League
8 March 2014
Stoke City: Begovic, Cameron, Pieters, Whelan, Shawcross, Wilson, Odemwingie
(Guidetti 63) (Ireland 80), N'Zonzi, Crouch, Walters, Arnautovic
(Etherington 74)
Subs not used: Muniesa, Palacios, Wilkinson, Sorensen
Goals: Walters pen 73
Sent-off: Walters

Everton 1-0 West Ham United
Barclays Premier League
1 March 2014
West Ham United: Adrian, Demel (Reid 80), McCartney, Collins, Tomkins,
Taylor, Noble, Nolan (c), Downing, Jarvis (Diame 66), C.Cole (Carroll 29)
Subs: Jaaskelainen, Armero, J.Cole, Nocerino

Previous meeting
A superb free-kick from Jermaine Pennant lit up a tight game that was short
of quality at both ends of the pitch until the winger struck with eight
minutes left. Pennant had only been on the pitch for six minutes when he
bent a powerful free-kick around the wall and past the helpless Jussi
Jaaskelainen to give the Potters all three points.
West Ham United 0-1 Stoke City
Barclays Premier League
31 August 2013
West Ham United: Jaaskelainen, Demel, Collins, Reid, O'Brien, Noble
(Collison 84), Nolan, Diame (Lee 88), Downing (Morrison 64), Maiga, Jarvis
Subs not used: Adrian, Tomkins, Rat Taylor
Stoke City: Begovic, Cameron, Shawcross, Huth, Pieters, Wilson, N'Zonzi,
Etherington (Pennant 76), Adam (Whelan 76), Walters, Jones
Subs not used: Sorensen, Muniesa, Crouch, Assaidi, Jerome
Goals: Pennant 82

Head to head
Last six meetings (Premier League unless stated)
31 August 2013 - West Ham United 0-1 Stoke City
2 March 2013 - Stoke City 0-1 West Ham United
19 November 2012 - West Ham United 1-1 Stoke City
13 March 2011 - Stoke City 2-1 West Ham United (FA Cup sixth round)
5 March 2011 - West Ham United 3-0 Stoke City
27 October 2010 - West Ham United 3-1 Stoke City (Carling Cup fourth round)
Overall record v Stoke City (all competitions) W 36 D 21 L 32

Ten-year records
West Ham United
2012/13 Premier League 10th (46 points)
2011/12 Championship 3rd (86 points - promoted to Premier League via
2010/11 Premier League 20th (33 points - relegated to Championship)
2009/10 Premier League 17th (35 points)
2008/09 Premier League 9th (51 points)
2007/08 Premier League 10th (49 points)
2006/07 Premier League 15th (41 points)
2005/06 Premier League 9th (55 points)
2004/05 Championship 6th (73 points - promoted to Premier League via
2003/04 Championship 4th (74 points)
Stoke City
2012/13 Premier League 13th (42 points)
2011/12 Premier League 14th (45 points)
2010/11 Premier League 13th (46 points)
2009/10 Premier League 11th (47 points)
2008/09 Premier League 12th (45 points)
2007/08 Championship 2nd (79 points - promoted to the Premier League)
2006/07 Championship 8th (73 points)
2005/06 Championship 13th (58 points)
2004/05 Championship 12th (61 points)
2003/04 Division One 11th (66 points)

. West Ham United have played Stoke City on 89 occasions with the Hammers
prevailing in 36 encounters, drawing 21 and losing 32 to the Potters.
. The first meeting between the pair came on 16 December 1911 at Stoke's
Victoria Ground. The home side emerged as 4-3 winners despite West Ham goals
from Thomas Randall and two from William Kennedy.
. West Ham's first victory against the Potters came just over a year later
on 25 December 1912 when they recorded a thumping 5-0 win at the Boleyn
Ground in a Southern League encounter.
. The two sides did battle again just a day later on Boxing Day 1912, with
the Hammers earning their first ever win at the Victoria Ground thanks to a
single goal from Danny Shea.
. On 29 March 1958 the Hammers recorded their biggest away win against Stoke
City in a Division Two clash. West Ham ran out resounding 4-1 winners thanks
to a brace from Vic Keeble and goals from Mike Grice and John Dick.
. The Hammers last visit to Stoke City back on 2 March 2013 ended in a 1-0
success thanks to Jack Collison's strike on the stroke of half-time.
. The man in the middle at the Britannia Stadium on Saturday afternoon will
be Craig Pawson.
. 34-year-old Pawson will be taking charge of his first West Ham United
match this season, but was the fourth official when the Hammers beat
Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane back in October 2013.
. The official has been a referee since 1993, working his way up to the
Football League where he began refereeing in 2012/13.
. Lee Betts and John Brooks will assist Pawson, while Michael Oliver will be
the fourth official.
General information
. Both sets of players will don Sport Relief t-shirts during the pre-match
warm-ups to show their support for the charity.
. The weather forecast for Saturday is cloudy with temperatures around 10C
. The Club have SOLD OUT their full allocation of tickets for the fixture.
. If you're travelling to Stoke by train on the weekend, click here for
travel updates.

Nolan pleased by Big Sam honour
Kevin Nolan feels Sam Allardyce's Manager of the Month prize was fully

West Ham United skipper Kevin Nolan was thrilled to see manager Sam
Allardyce pick up the Barclays Premier League Manager of the Month award for
February. The Hammers won all four games in the month, with Nolan playing a
starring role by scoring five goals and earning a subsequent nomination for
Premier League Player of the Month. Nolan notched braces against Swansea
City and Aston Villa, as well as scoring an acrobatic effort against
Southampton - a goal which scooped the Goal of the Month. He was
delighted with the award-laden month, but has quickly switched his focus to
maintaining the Hammers' good form when they travel to Stoke City on
Saturday. "It's a deserved honour for the gaffer," he said. "It was a
fantastic achievement by us as a whole squad and team, and that's including
the staff as we count us all as one. "It was a fantastic February. The late
goal at Everton put a bit of a dent in that but it's well-earned and
deserved by the gaffer and hopefully now March is going to go similarly well
for us. We want to get another good few wins under our belts and get another
run going. "It's always nice when you get a little accolade, but I'm
delighted to be able to contribute to the team in a positive way after a
tricky four or five weeks. "I actually thought the first goal against
Swansea was better than the Southampton one, but I'm sure that's just
because people think I'm getting old now so that's why they went for the
overhead kick. I've been around for a while but I am still only 31!"

West Ham's last two meetings with Stoke have been tight affairs, with a
single goal settling the game in either side's favour and Nolan expects
match to be no different. "They're all tight ones now," he explained. "We've
got to keep positive, keep playing the way we are and go there with a lot of
confidence because I thought we deserved something out of the game at
Everton. If we put a performance like that out there at Stoke, I'm sure we
can come back with a good, positive result. "I think Mark Hughes has gone in
and tried to change the way they play and what they do now. It's a different
type of Stoke to play these days. It's still hard and they're still tough
boys who are still hungry to win games. "It's going to be interesting and
I'm really looking forward to it. We've got something to avenge because we
were really poor against Stoke at home this season. We've got a near-full
squad for this one, going to what is a difficult place but we're really
confident that we can get something."

Bywater eager for more goals
Kieran Bywater admits he is eager to add to his excellent goal tally against
Leicester City on Saturday

Kieran Bywater is keen to add another goal to his tally when the Under-18s
journey to Leicester City in the Barclays U18 Premier League on Saturday.
The free-scoring midfielder struck the opener in a 3-0 demolition of London
rivals Arsenal as the U18s recorded their sixth straight victory last time
out. While his shot may have benefited from a sizable deflection, the goal
still goes down as Bywater's 17th of the season and the 18-year-old has set
his sights on more strikes in the immediate future. He told West Ham TV:
"I'm looking to get as many goals as I can from now until the end of the
season. For the team, it helps massively if I'm getting assists as well. "My
goal at the weekend was a good one to get, although it did take a massive
deflection but you've got to be in those situations to score goals. "At the
beginning of the season I set myself a target of 15 goals and now that I've
surpassed that, I just want to keep pushing on. I want to keep scoring and
hopefully I can push on into the Under-21s."

Bywater's goals have undoubtedly been a factor in Steve Potts' sides rise to
second in the league table, but the team's miserly defence have also been
attracting plaudits. Just once has Sam Howes had to pick the ball out of his
own net in the last six matches, and U18s captain Bywater feels the whole
team has played their part in the defensive effort. "We're in good form at
the minute and we're managing to get good results as well. A lot of credit
goes to the defenders as we've kept a lot of clean sheets recently. "All the
lads, from the front to the back, all the players have added to the
defensive unit. The defenders obviously take great credit for the great
defensive record that we have. "Six wins on the bounce is very good form so
everyone is just concentrating on the next game and not thinking about the
previous games as we build up to playing Leicester on Saturday."

The young Hammers have already enjoyed success over the Foxes this season,
scoring a 2-1 win at Little Heath back in December 2013. On that day Bywater
scored the winner, as well as assisting the first goal, and he feels
confident of helping the U18s to another victory against their opponents,
but admits it will be a tough game. "It was quite a tight game last time,
they defended in numbers and tried to play on the counter-attack and I think
we've got to be prepared for that again. "They're at home this time so it
could be a different game, but we'll just have to try and exert our game on
them and hopefully get a good performance and another win. "The lads are
just focused on winning games at the moment. We're just concentrating on
getting the wins at the moment and not many of the lads pay much attention
to the league table at present. We know we're doing well so we've just got
to keep winning games and performing well."

New date announced for Arsenal
West Ham United will now travel to Arsenal on Tuesday 15 April, kick-off

West Ham United's away Barclays Premier League game at Arsenal will now be
played on Tuesday 15 April with a 7.45pm kick-off. The game was originally
scheduled for Sunday 13 April, but the new date had to be found due to the
Gunners' involvement in the FA Cup with Budweiser semi-finals 24 hours
previously. Ticketing information for this fixture will be announced in due
course on

Taylor eyes Potters points
Matt Taylor is keen for a repeat of the Hammers' last trip to Stoke City on
Saturday afternoon

Matt Taylor is hoping that history will repeat itself on Saturday when West
Ham United journey to the Britannia Stadium to play Stoke City in the
Barclays Premier League. The midfielder has little memory of last season's
1-0 victory against the Potters, after coming off worse in a collision with
Peter Crouch's boot which resulted in his removal from the game after just
ten minutes. His replacement that day, Jack Collison, struck the only goal
of the game to give the Hammers all three points and Taylor is hoping for a
similar outcome this time around. He told West Ham TV: "We want to go up
there and try to reproduce the performance we gave last year, obviously not
for me personally as I think I lasted about eight minutes before I got
carried off. "It's going to be an extremely difficult game, Mark Hughes has
got them playing very well, very resolute in defence and they've also got
goalscorers so it will be a difficult game. "All we can do is try and
replicate the performances we have done away from home recently and we'll
give ourselves a good chance of picking up some points."

Taylor and his teammates head into Saturday's clash on the back of their
first defeat in five league matches, with a late Romelu Lukaku strike
proving to be their downfall last time out. Defeat at Goodison Park came
after four straight wins and according to Taylor the loss has done little to
damage the confidence built by their recent run of good form. "The mood's
good, obviously we're all disappointed that we didn't pick up anything at
Everton but the boys are in good spirits. "We're arguably in the best form
of our season so far, we probably didn't cover ourselves in glory up at
Everton, but having said that, we should have come away with a result which
we didn't do. "We were resolute in defence, but probably didn't offer enough
in attack and that's something which I'm sure we'll be working to improve
that and hopefully we can put in an attacking performance against Stoke on

The aforementioned wins against Swansea City, Aston Villa, Norwich City and
Southampton helped put the Hammers into the top ten, a position they hold
going into this weekend's fixtures. Taylor believes the run has helped the
confidence come flooding back to the Hammers, but insists there is more work
to be done from now until the end of the season. "It gives you momentum,
winning games, scoring goals, it does give you confidence. Confidence is key
in any sport, especially in football. "The team's playing well, the team
spirit's fantastic and we've picked up some good results, but you can't go
through a year and pick places where you're going to get results, that's not
the way the Premier League works. "You need to respect every team that you
play against and you need to go into every game believing you can win. That
goes for playing against Manchester United or Hull or Sunderland or anyone
else that you're playing. "We've got to do that, and if we do then I believe
we'll pick up more points than we lose towards the end of the season."

Six of the Best: Stoke City
The Official Website recounts six memorable wins against Stoke City ahead of
Saturday's clash

This weekend West Ham United visit the Britannia Stadium, home of Stoke City
and a ground where the Hammers have enjoyed some good results over past
decades. Sam Allardyce's side will be looking to bounce back from a 1-0
defeat away to Everton last time out with a win at a ground where they have
lost just twice on their last ten visits.

Here, takes a look at six memorable away wins against the Potters.

Stoke City 0-1 West Ham United
Premier League
2 March 2014
Jack Collison was on hand to end a run of five straight defeats as the
Hammers secured a narrow win at the Britannia Stadium. The midfielder was on
as a tenth minute substitute as the Hammers were forced into an early
reshuffle due to Matt Taylor's injury. Ricardo Vaz Te also replaced the
injured Joe Cole just a minute after Collison's introduction and the
substitutes combined to create the only goal of the game. The Welsh
midfielder slotted the ball into the bottom left-hand corner after being
found by Vaz Te, to give the visitors a much-needed three points.

Stoke City 0-2 West Ham United
Division One
24 April 2004
West Ham picked up a second straight win as their promotion push gathered
pace towards the end of the 2003/04 season. The Hammers put fresh impetus
into their challenge with goals from strike duo David Connolly and Marlon
Harewood. Irishman Connolly netted the opener after 39 minutes, before
Harewood doubled the lead with a crucial second goal with 59 minutes played.
A fourth place finish saw the Hammers beat Ipswich Town in the play-off
semi-final before they suffered heartbreak in the final against Crystal
Palace, suffering a 1-0 loss.

Stoke City 2-4 West Ham United
Division One
20 October 1984
John Lyall took his West Ham side to the Victoria Ground in 1984, just seven
days after watching his team take a 5-1 thrashing at the hands of Manchester
United. The Hammers manager got the perfect response from his players after
their defeat to the Red Devils, with goals from Paul Allen, Paul Goddard and
Tony Cottee doing the damage. Home defender George Berry also put through
his own net as the Potters lost out in a six-goal thriller. Stoke would
later find themselves shipping five goals to the Hammers at the Boleyn
Ground as the season drew to a close, with Billy Bonds scoring twice that

Stoke City 1-2 West Ham United
Division One
16 August 1975
A week after losing the Charity Shield to Derby County at Wembley, West Ham
kicked off their league campaign with a strong 2-1 win against Stoke City.
Alan Taylor - the man who scored twice in the previous season's FA Cup final
to win the trophy for the Hammers - was again on the scoresheet at the
Victoria Ground as the visitors took all three points. Bobby Gould also
grabbed himself a goal to kick the season off in style for the Hammers.

Stoke City 1-2 West Ham United
League Cup semi-final first leg
8 December 1971
In the first of what would be four instalments between West Ham and Stoke
City in the 1971/71 League Cup semi-final, the Hammers secured a narrow
victory. A goal from Clyde Best and a penalty from Geoff Hurst set the
visitors on their way to a first leg lead to defend in the second leg at the
Boleyn Ground.
In the return fixture, the Potters snatched a 1-0 win to send the game to a
replay. The first replay ended 0-0, meaning the teams would have to do
battle again. Stoke finally prevailed and earned their place in the final
after a 3-2 triumph at Old Trafford, despite goals from Trevor Brooking and
Billy Bonds.

Stoke City 0-3 West Ham United
FA Cup round four
17 February 1968
Ron Greenwood's Hammers swatted Stoke aside as they strode into round five
of the FA Cup with a comprehensive win. West Ham booked their spot in the
next round courtesy of strikes from Geoff Hurst and a double from John
Sissons. Sheffield United were the opponents for the Hammers in round five
but proved too strong, running out 2-1 winners at the Boleyn Ground, with a
goal from Brian Dear the only consolation.

Stoke v West Ham
KO 15:00
14 March 2014
By Alistair Mann
BBC Match of the Day commentator

Venue: Britannia Stadium Date: Saturday, 15 March


Stoke are without Jonathan Walters and Charlie Adam, both of whom are
suspended. Long-term absentee Robert Huth will miss the rest of the season
because of a knee injury, while Oussama Assaidi (knee) will be assessed.
West Ham boss Sam Allardyce has not reported any fresh fitness concerns
ahead of Saturday's game. Forward Andy Carroll is set to return to the
starting line-up, but Marco Borriello and Joey O'Brien remain out.

In the mini-league to avoid the drop, Stoke City and West Ham are joint top
with only goal difference separating them. In many ways both are inching
closer to as coveted a prize as the title itself - another year in one of
the world's most lucrative divisions. That had begun to look like an
increasingly elusive target only a few weeks ago as both teams ended January
teetering among a pack of equally desperate clubs. "Both of these teams have
got a bit of breathing space between themselves and the bottom three, and
they probably both need two more wins to be sure of staying up." Mark Hughes
had just endured a winless month which ended with defeat at Sunderland - a
loss which seemed to typify their ill fortune when, down to 10 men, their
battling and gutsy display deserved a great deal more than their fourth
defeat in 17 days. Hughes quite rightly insisted that their performances had
not earned the rewards they merited and his sentiment was soon proved right.
Just a few days later they began February with a magnificent win against
Manchester United, their first in the Premier League. They have since been
galvanised, losing just once in six games (at Manchester City), reaching the
30-point mark courtesy of another heartening victory against Arsenal. And
though they continue to earn the vast majority of their points at home, that
formula has been successfully adhered to since they began their Premier
League tenure in 2008. February proved equally as pivotal for the Hammers -
indeed Sam Allardyce has just been named the manager of the month for his
team's 100% success rate. They ended January being likened to a 19th-century
outfit - but 28 days later, with 12 points from their four games, they have
proved they are very much accustomed to the rigours of modern-day football.
Both clubs are now down the home straight towards safety. Whichever side
wins this game will surely feel their season-long mission will be very close
to completion.

West Ham have lost only one of their last eight league games away to Stoke
(W5, D2, L1).
The last top-flight goalless draw between the sides was in April 1972.

Stoke City
Stoke and West Ham are the two Premier League sides with the fewest headed
goals this season (two apiece).
This will be Mark Hughes' 300th Premier League game as a manager. He will
become the 10th manager to reach that milestone.
The Potters have lost only one of their last six league games (W2, D3, L1).
They have won 24 of their 31 points at the Britannia Stadium, and have
suffered just two defeats at home all season.
Stoke have surrendered 14 points from losing positions this term - only
Norwich and Southampton (15) have worse records.

West Ham United
Defeat at Everton ended the Hammers' four-match winning streak.
West Ham have kept 13 clean sheets - the joint highest total in the Premier
League, along with Chelsea.
They have conceded 15 times in 14 away league games this season - only
Chelsea (13) have a better record.
The Hammers have scored 799 goals in the Premier League.

Daniel Sturridge & Sam Allardyce win player and manager of month

Liverpool's Daniel Sturridge has won the Barclays Player of the Month award
for the second time this season. The England striker, 24, who also won the
August award, was rewarded for five goals and two assists in February. Sam
Allardyce, 59, received the manager's award after West Ham gained a maximum
12 points during the month. The London club achieved four straight wins
against Swansea City, Aston Villa, Norwich City and Southampton to climb
into 10th place in the Premier League. Sturridge's performances helped
Liverpool, second in the table, to three wins from four, including the 5-1
Anfield success over Arsenal.
It is the fifth time Allardyce has been chosen as Barclays Manager of the
Month, the last was in 2006 when he was in charge at Bolton Wanderers.

Stoke welcome West Ham to the Britannia Stadium
Last Updated: 14/03/14 5:28pm

Two sides locked together on 31 points meet at the Britannia Stadium as
Stoke City play host to West Ham United. With there little to choose between
the pair heading into Saturday's encounter, either - or possibly neither -
could end the weekend in the top half of the Premier League table. Both will
be determined to take something from the tie, with half of the division
still sweating on their top-flight status. Just six points separate them
from the relegation zone at present, so getting to the 40-point mark as
quickly as possible will be the target for Mark Hughes and Sam Allardyce.
Hughes' Potters have been making steady progress of late, with only one
defeat suffered in their last six - and that came against title-chasing
Manchester City. They will, however, feel that three draws in their last
five have held them back somewhat, with 10 stalemates having now been taken
in this term. West Ham have also been in decent form over recent weeks, with
a 1-0 reversal at Everton last time out bringing to an end a run of four
straight successes - a haul which landed Allardyce the Manager of the Month
award for February. I don't like going against Stoke at home. I went against
them when Arsenal went there and I got that wrong, so I have to back them
here. I think they will beat a West Ham side that have done well and turned
a corner. They kept faith with a manager who has got all the experience in
the world and it's worked a treat for them. Fair play to David Gold and
David Sullivan for sticking by him when they could have easily gone the
other way. I'll go for a narrow Stoke win.


Stoke City
Last 6
Norwich (a)1-1
Arsenal (h)1-0
Man City (a)1-0
Swansea (h)1-1
Southampton (a)2-2
Man Utd (h)2-1

Jonathan Walters starts a three-match ban for Stoke following his dismissal
in a 1-1 draw at Norwich City last weekend. Midfielder Charlie Adam is also
unavailable due to suspension, with the Scotland international due to sit
out this fixture and next week's trip to Aston Villa. The Potters had been
hoping to have commanding centre-half Robert Huth back by now, but fear the
German defender may miss the remainder of the season with a knee complaint -
a problem which is also keeping on-loan winger Oussama Assaidi on the

West Ham
Last 6
Everton (a)1-0
Southampton (h)3-1
Norwich (h)2-0
A Villa (a)0-2
Swansea (h)2-0
Chelsea (a)0-0
West Ham manager Allardyce has no fresh injury concerns to contend with.
Andy Carroll is in line to return to the starting line-up for the first time
since his sending off in the 2-0 win over Swansea although fellow forward
Marco Borriello remains sidelined with a calf injury. Joey O'Brien
(shoulder) is a long-term absentee while Antonio Nocerino is still looking
to make his first Hammers start. Full-back Pablo Armero is yet to feature
since joining in January.

Opta stats

Only five teams have picked up more points at home than Stoke City in the
Premier League this season (24).
The Hammers have conceded just one goal and kept three clean sheets in their
last four Premier League away outings.
The Hammers have scored 799 goals in Premier League history.

West Ham manager Sam Allardyce demands clinical approach against Stoke City
By Emma Webb | Last Updated: 14/03/14 2:44pm

West Ham manager Sam Allardyce is demanding a clinical approach from his
team against Stoke on Saturday. Allardyce, who was named the Barclays
Manager of the Month on Friday, has made it clear that a return to form is
vital. His side had recently kept four clean sheets during a five-match
unbeaten run, but lost 1-0 at Everton in their last game a fortnight ago.
"The clinical aspect, which we have done so well in the four games we'd won
on the trot, deserted us at Everton and we've got to get that back," he
said. "We've got to take the opportunities when they arise. We scored
against the run of play sometimes, we scored when we were in the ascendancy
and we've got to make sure we are as clinical as we were in those four

Allardyce stopped his players attending the Cheltenham Festival on
Wednesday, instead calling them in for extra training. Stoke beat the
Hammers 1-0 at Upton Park earlier this season, which was the only away win
of the 2013/14 season to date for Mark Hughes' side. Allardyce is aware of
their strength in midfield and is conducting his game plan accordingly.
"You've got a mixture of playing off Peter Crouch or through midfield. It's
slightly different to how it used to be when Tony (Pulis) was there, but
it's equally as dangerous in those areas as they always were. "Our defensive
unit has to be solid and aware of what they're going to try and do to break
us down."

Despite the threat of the Potters, Allardyce is confident in his men and
their abilities. "My best XI have played recently, and they've played
exceptionally well."
Striker Andy Carroll is expected to feature at the Britannia Stadium after
being sidelined by injury and suspension this season.

West Ham boss Sam Allardyce named Barclays Premier League Manager of the
By Emma Webb | Last Updated: 14/03/14 2:59pm

West Ham boss Sam Allardyce has been named the Barclays Premier League
Manager of the Month for February. Allardyce beat off competition from Jose
Mourinho of Chelsea, Brendan Rodgers at Liverpool and Hull boss Steve Bruce
for the award. Concerns were raised over Allardyce's future at the club
after a string of losses through the winter, and crashing out of two cup
competitions in the space of four days. However, motivated by holding
Chelsea to a 0-0 draw at Stamford Bridge on January 29, the Hammers boss
guided the London club to four wins out of four in the Barclays Premier
League through February, beating Swansea City, Aston Villa, Norwich City and
Southampton. Allardyce has been awarded the accolade for this spectacular
turnaround of results which saw West Ham record four consecutive clean
sheets, and praised his players as 'fantastic'. He said: "It's thanks to the
players for their achievements throughout February. "It's made a very, very
entertaining Premier League - one where I think it's entertained the public
from the very start and I think it'll entertain them to the very finish."
This is the fifth time he has received the award, most recently in December
2006 when he was manager of Bolton Wanderers. West Ham skipper Kevin Nolan
was delighted for his boss. "It's a deserved honour for the gaffer," he
said. "It was a fantastic February." Liverpool's Daniel Sturridge has also
been awarded Player of the Month, after scoring five goals in five
appearances and making two assists for the Reds in February. He said: "I've
been working hard and the team have helped me to be successful. I've been
praying a lot and I've got a faith in God, and I put it down to that

Sam Allardyce feels England should pick West Ham striker Andy Carroll
Last Updated: 14/03/14 9:12am

West Ham United manager Sam Allardyce believes selecting a 'fresh' Andy
Carroll could benefit England at this summer's World Cup. The 25-year-old
striker has been restricted to just six appearances for the Hammers this
season through a combination of injury and suspension. He is, however, a
proven Premier League performer and a man with nine senior international
caps to his name. Carroll will be hoping to add to that tally in Brazil this
summer, and his club boss feels Roy Hodgson should be looking at the burly
frontman's lack of game time over recent months as a positive, rather than a
cause for concern. He said in the Newham Recorder: "The good thing from
Roy's point of view is he won't have a fatigued player if he picks him.
"He'll have an exceptionally fresh player that is going to be very eager and
enthusiastic about going to the World Cup after having missed most of the
season. "He is unlike a lot of players in his squad who have gone through
the trials and tribulations of the Premier League, Champions League and
Europa League. "We've seen the fatigue levels at Manchester City now which
is causing them to wane in terms of their results. "Lots of players are
going to suffer a type of fatigue. Andy won't - he will be the reverse of
that. Andy will be so fresh and ready to go unlike some of those players.
"Lots of players are going to suffer a type of fatigue. Andy won't - he will
be the reverse of that. Andy will be so fresh and ready to go unlike some of
those players." "I think Andy's focus is about playing for West Ham and
making sure that he catches up with his match fitness as quickly as he can.
"If he can find the goalscoring form he managed last season, we will be
securing our Premier League place and then he can maybe think about
attaching himself to that all-important England squad for Brazil."

Carroll was left out of Hodgson's 30-man squad for a recent friendly date
with Denmark, but Allardyce insists that omission will not be weighing on
the striker's mind. He added: "No, what Andy has been distraught about and
has only just got over was the total injustice of the three-game ban (served
on the back of a controversial red card against Swansea City). "I think it
has taken him a long time to overcome the frustration that we all suffered
on that."

By Sean Whetstone 14 Mar 2014 at 19:11
West Ham Till I Die

Sam revealed he stopped some of his players enjoying a day at the races
after they mistakenly thought they had Wednesday off. Sam said in his
pre-match interview "Some of them had booked to go off to Cheltenham - but
they didn't get the day off." "When we`ve got a period of time off that`s
longer than normal they tend to switch off mentally." "It`s my job to switch
them back on and get focused. It`s a tricky schedule to manage. We have to
plan carefully." Andy Carroll, Kevin Nolan and agent Mark Curtis jointly own
a race horse called 'Ninety Minutes' and are know to like a day at the
gee-gees. Today the West Ham squad have been training at the FA National
Football Centre at St George's Park.ahead of Saturday's game at Stoke City.

West Ham's Andy Carroll backed for England World Cup squad by Hammers boss
Sam Allardyce
Mar 13, 2014 22:30 By Phil Cadden
The Mirror

Andy Carroll can provide England with much-needed freshness in attack at the
World Cup. That is the assessment of Sam Allardyce, Carroll's club boss at
West Ham. The hitman, 25, has made just six appearances for the Hammers this
season - and has yet to score following spells out through injury and
But Allardyce, who is taking his side to train at the Three Lions' HQ at St
George's Park ahead of the short trip to Stoke on Saturday, reckons Carroll
can be a big plus for Roy Hodgson this summer in Brazil. The Hammers chief
said: "The good thing from Roy's point of view is he won't have a fatigued
player if he picks him. "He'll have an exceptionally fresh player that is
going to be very eager and enthusiastic about going to the World Cup after
having missed most of this season. "He is unlike a lot of his players in his
squad who have gone through the trials and tribulations of the Premier
League, Champions League and Europa League. "We've seen the fatigue levels
at Manchester City now which is causing them to wane in terms of their
results. "Lots of players are going to suffer a type of fatigue. Andy won't
- he will be the reverse of that. Andy will be so fresh and ready to go
unlike some of those players."

England strikers' appearances this season
Wayne Rooney, Man United 37
Jay Rodriguez, Southampton 36
Rickie Lambert, Southampton 34
Danny Welbeck, Man United 31
Daniel Sturridge, Liverpool 28
Jermain Defoe, Tottenham 23
Andy Carroll, West Ham 6.


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