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West Ham v Fulham preview

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02 Oct 2009 11:07:48

West Ham v Fulham preview

West Ham will be hoping to climb out of the relegation zone when Fulham visit Upton Park on Sunday. While Gianfranco Zola's side have won many plaudits this season, they have only won one of their six league outings to date and find themselves at the wrong end of the table. West Ham are third from bottom in the table two points behind Fulham having lost three straight following Monday's defeat at Man City. The lowly Cottagers find themselves struggling to emulate last season's exploits having lost four of their six league matches. However, Fulham received a confidence boost in midweek after securing a 1-0 Europa League win over Basel. Hammers newsZola must decide whether to rejig his back-line in the wake of Monday's 3-1 loss to Mark Hughes' title challengers at Eastlands. Joel Tomkins and Manuel Da Costa were paired together for the first time with Matthew Upson and Daniel Gabbidon absent. Upson and Jack Collison undergo late fitness tests and could be available for the Italian tactician for Sunday's crucial clash. Zavon Hines and Junior Stanislas could be given the nod after coming off the bench at City, while Carlton Cole will continue to lead the line. Striker Dean Ashton and winger Luis Boa Morte remain long-term absentees for the Hammers and will take no part in this weekend's action. Fulham news Roy Hodgson is likely to recall a number of key personnel for their weekend trip across London after giving some fringe players a run-out in midweek. The Cottagers boss omitted a handful of regulars for the visit of Basel, including John Pantsil, Brede Hangeland, Aaron Hughes and Dickson Etuhu. Hangeland, Pantsil and Hughes will replace Chris Baird, Chris Smalling and Stephen Kelly at the back while Etuhu should come in for Greening. Winger Damien Duff is unlikely to play after picking up a calf strain in last weekend's 1-0 defeat to Arsenal, so Zoltan Gera will get the nod. Andrew Johnson and Bobby Zamora should retain their partnership up front, although Erik Nevland and Diomansy Kamara are ready to start if needed. Possible starting XIsWest Ham: Green, Faubert, Tomkins, Da Costa, Ilunga, Dyer, Noble, Parker, Kovac, Hines, Cole. Fulham: Schwarzer, Pantsil, Hangeland, Hughes, Konchesky, Gera, Murphy, Etuhu, Dempsey, Johnson, Zamora.


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