Caretaker boss ready for Upton Park scrap
KEITH Downing expects West Ham to be ‘charged up’ for tomorrow’s bottom-six clash at Upton Park (ko 12.45pm).
The Baggies head to East London buoyed by their deserved Boxing Day point at Tottenham, which lifted them up a place to 15th in the Barclays Premier League table.
They are now just one point above the bottom three – but also only three adrift of 11th spot after 18 games.
Meanwhile, the 19th-placed Hammers are two points away from safety after four defeats and one draw in their last five outings.
But, although yesterday’s 3-1 loss to Arsenal means they have only taken eight points from a possible 27 on home turf this term, Downing is still expecting a tough encounter as both sides scrap for top-flight survival.
“West Ham is always going to be a difficult game whatever we did at Spurs,” said the caretaker boss.
“We know what West Ham are like, their strengths, and I’m sure Big Sam will have them charged up.
“It’s a big game.
“We’ve never shied away from the position we’re in.
“We’re trying to get as many points as we can and pave the way for the new man.
“The good thing about it is the new man has probably seen 18 to 20 players now in the last two or three games so that will be good for him to get an insight into what he’s taking over.
“Two games is hard - but in less than two days is really difficult – and after playing on a heavy pitch yesterday.
“It’s going to be a test.
“But we’ve utilised the squad and we’ll get a fresh XI ready to go for the game at West Ham.”