Writer: Barry Worthington
Date:Saturday April 24 2010
Latics travel south today to face West Ham knowing a win would 100% guarantee survival and put the Hammers in some very serious trouble, especially if Hull were to get a result against Sunderland.
Last week both the Latics and West Ham had contrasting results, Roberto`s men pulled back a two goal deficit against title chasing Arsenal to win the game 3-2 whilst the Hammers were getting hammered down the East Lancs Road at Anfield in a game that many pundits say they lost with a whimper
The Latics have not won back to back league games this season so to finish the season in some good form would be a bonus after almost securing the main objective of Premier League safety.
End of season games usually have some twists and turns but with West Ham having just one win and seven losses in their last nine league matches it looks like they don`t have many turns left, I imagine Gold and Sullivan will have plenty to talk about after this game
Latics boss Roberto Martinez:
'I have seen some very strange things in football, and you cannot leave anything up in the air.
'You will go down or stay up on the points tally that you have got - nobody else's.
'We have 35 points from 35 games, which is a good tally given we have nine still to play for.
'What we need to make sure is we get the next three points as soon as we can because we have tricky fixtures coming up against West Ham and Hull.
'West Ham will be looking at the game against us as being their most
important game of the season, and you could say the same thing about Hull next week.
'Then we are away at Chelsea, who are fighting for the title.
'For me, to listen to anyone who says we are safe makes no sense at all.'
West Ham boss Gianfranco Zola:
'It's a massive game for us. We also know that the last game wasn't very good and the players are determined to bounce back.
'I am confident we will see a reaction. We have had so many problems this year and we are determined to give those problems a kick and tomorrow is an incredible opportunity to do that. We don't know what's going to happen (at Hull) but I think it is important we focus on winning our game. That is the start.
'Then, if some results go our way, it's even better - but it all starts with winning our game. I'm sure the players will react well. Scott is back and it's good. For this team, he is a reference point and when he is on the pitch he makes a big difference for us.'
Boa Morteis is a doubt whilst Dyer Hines and Tomkins are definitely out.
Scot Parker returns following suspension
West Ham from:
Green; Faubert, da Costa, Upson, Spector, Daprela, Behrami, Kovac, Noble, Stanislas, Franco, Cole, McCarthy, Ilan, Kurucz, Gabbidon, Mido, Diamanti, Parker
The return of the dying fish to the West Ham team will have the Latics players watching their ankles and frightened of tackling the over acting prima donna
Hendry Thomas is still a doubt overwise its a full squad to pick from with the return after suspension of Gary Caldwell, expect last weeks starting 11 to start again with the exception of Caldwell for the unlucky Gohouri.
Kirkland, Melchiot, Caldwell, Bramble, Figueroa, N'Zogbia, Diame, McCarthy, Watson, Rodallega, Moreno
Following his wonder goal last weekend and his brush with the law during the week what will little Charlie have us all talk about this weekend?
Latics and West Ham have met 15 times previously
Latics 8 wins, West Ham 5, draws 2
Alan Wiley will take charge of the Latics for the 4th time this season including the reverse fixture at the DW Stadium back n September
Card Watch - 35 games, 117 yellow cards and 5 reds
Why not find out all there is to know about Alan Wiley in our meet the ref article
Head says 1-1
Heart say 2-1 Latics win
Date:Saturday April 24 2010
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