Preview: West Ham v Wolverhampton

07 January 2010 02:54
The weekend's main relegation six-pointer sees West Ham United come up against a Wolves side at Upton Park that is starting to show the quality needed to survive in the Premier League. The Hammers have won only four of their 20 Premier League matches to date and have looked weak defensively throughout the campaign, conceding 37 goals already. It is at home where they have been particularly suspect, letting in 20 goals in ten matches, including four in last month's drubbing by Manchester United. The Boxing Day victory against Portsmouth raised hopes that Gianfranco Zola's team had enough quality to stave off the threat of relegation but there remains a looseness to much of their play which is not helped by the current absence of Scott Parker because of a hamstring injury. The former Chelsea, Charlton Athletic and Newcastle United star could return on Sunday as could Herita Illunga, who is also battling back from a hamstring problem. Carlton Cole is close to a return after recovering from a knee injury but Danny Gabbidon, Mark Noble, Kieron Dyer (all hamstring) and Luis Boa Morte (cruciate knee ligament) remain in the Upton Park treatment room. Mick McCarthy also has a few injury concerns to contend with as David Edwards, Andy Keogh, Michael Kightly and Matt Murray are all on the long-term injury list but Wolves come into the game one point ahead of the Hammers. An impressive December raised morale at Molineux with three-point hauls against Bolton Wanderers, Tottenham and Burnley lifting the club away from the bottom three. Even in festive defeats to Liverpool and Manchester City, there were reasons for optimism among the Wolves faithful and they also have an FA cup fourth round clash to look forward to later this month following Sunday's single-goal success at Tranmere Rovers.

Source: ESA