Slaven Bilic: West Ham a different team to one heavily beaten at West Brom
Slaven Bilic has warned West Brom that West Ham are a different team to the one which capitulated against them in September.
The Hammers suffered a Hawthorns horror show and found themselves 4-0 down shortly after half-time before eventually losing 4-2.
But since then Bilic has been able to welcome back Andy Carroll from injury, with the striker scoring four times in his last four games including January's goal of the month against Crystal Palace.
West Ham have also bolstered their squad with January signings Jose Fonte and Robert Snodgrass, and put the Dimitri Payet saga firmly behind them.
Furthermore, they are now looking more at home at the London Stadium following their early-season problems and host West Brom on Saturday having climbed to ninth, just one place behind Tony Pulis' side.
"That September was very bad for us," said Hammers boss Bilic.
"We had pre-season injuries, players at the European Championship who didn't do a proper pre-season and got injured.
"A week before West Brom was the Watford game, when we were winning 2-0 and playing so good, and lost 4-2.
"That affects you like a chain reaction, there were a number of factors and it doesn't happen overnight to come back to the level required to have a good team. It took us a couple of months.
"We are a different team now, we have players fit, that is the key.
"Now we have to at least maintain it, try to avoid injuries, work hard and try to improve."
Bilic is hopeful Carroll will be fit to face the Baggies after suffering a groin problem which has prevented him from training this week.
Jonny Evans and Claudio Yacob have handed West Brom a double boost after proving their fitness.
Defender Evans has missed the last month with a calf problem but is in the squad to travel to London.
Midfielder Yacob is also ready to return after suspected appendicitis forced him to miss last weekend's 1-0 win over Stoke.
Evans' problem frustrated boss Pulis as he initially struggled to recover and Yacob required hospital treatment last week but the problem was not as bad as first feared.
"Jonny will be fit for selection and Yac as well," said Pulis. "We thought it was appendicitis but luckily it wasn't so that's good. We've got a couple of big decisions to make.
"Yac has been outstanding this year for us so to have them on board is good."
Victory on Saturday would move Albion eight points clear of West Ham as they try to catch Everton and Manchester United in the race for the Europa League.
Seventh place in the Premier League could see the Baggies qualify for Europe if United win the EFL Cup and one of the top four wins the FA Cup.
Pulis has maintained Albion must reach 40 points before targeting anything else and with the club four points shy he wants his side to maintain their form after five wins from their last nine league games.
He said: "The important thing is to go there and make sure we put a performance in. We've done very well so far, we just need to keep it going.
"We've got to keep our feet on the ground and recognise why we've been successful and make sure we keep doing those basics well."