This is one of the few games in the Championship involving a team with something to play for, as West Ham chase the victory that could land them a place in the Premiership. Even though the Hammers’ fate is somewhat out of their own hands, Sam Allardyce’s side know that they still must get the three points if they are to push 2nd place Southampton all the way. Hull in contrast will already be preparing for this term, with the Tigers now out of the running for the playoffs as they occupy 8th spot.
Having been tipped by many to gain an immediate return to the top flight, the result from this encounter could have a huge bearing on how a lot of people view West Ham’s campaign. The Hammers have spent much of the season in the automatic promotion positions, but recent results have seen their grasp on promotion loosen and their destiny is now partly in the hands of Southampton. The Upton Park outfit need to better Southampton’s result on Saturday in order to leapfrog Saints, but with Allardyce’s side winning just one of their last eight games at home it could be a tall order.
With four points separating Hull from the top six, it would be fair to say that the Tigers have enjoyed a reasonable campaign and Nick Barmby will be looking to go and prepare for a more serious push for his first full season in charge next term. The KC Stadium outfit have been flirting with the top six positions for much of the campaign, although some poor form a couple of months ago has made any sort of serious challenge very difficult over the last few weeks. Supporters of the club will certainly be frustrated at that fact, as Hull have put some very good results together over the last few weeks. They currently find themselves on an unbeaten run of four games and having won three of those fixtures, they certainly won’t make this an easy clash for their promotion-chasing opponents.
In terms of team news, Sam Allardyce has several high profile absentees with the likes of Nicky Maynard, John Carew and Joey O’Brien all expected to miss out for West Ham. On a more positive note, George McCartney is back in contention having fully recovered from his concussion. Hull on the other hand are preparing to be without Jack Hobbs and Joe Dudgeon as injuries continue to hinder the duo. However, Nick Barmby should be able to select Robert Koren and Tom Cairney, with both players expected to be involved in some capacity following recent injury scares.
As for a prediction, we think West Ham will get the points in this clash. Even though the Hammers have found victories hard to come by in recent weeks, we think the lure of promotion will be enough to help them towards a 2-0 victory.