Early on Saturday Avram Grant stated again the importance of beating Wigan this Sunday in what will be a deciding fixture in the relegation battle. The Hammers currently reside at the bottom the table with 33 points, meaning they will need to win their next two games, against Wigan and Sunderland, if they wish to stay up – defeat warranting a fast track to the Championship.
The eat-London outfit’s sixth consecutive year in the Premier League has been one filled with ups and downs. Punctuated by injury, misfortune and problems off the pitch have been well endured by the fans as much as the players. Grant still however defies the cynic and believes that they can still overcome the odds which are stacked against them.
He said “It is a game we must win, It is not dependent on anybody else, we need to win.
“We play against a team that must also win the game so it will be an interesting game.”
Grant does however realise that their fortunes impinge upon the other games in the league: “We need to do it and then we need to look for the other results.” Before adding “From my experience in football, nothing is over until it is over. It has happened to me in the past.”
Following an antagonising draw with Blackburn at Upton, where Hitzlsperger ensured the fight continued with a late equalizer to bring the game to 1-1 and dragged West Ham away from the brink. The 25 yard scorcher boosted the team massively, and a late surge saw Robbie Keane and Carlton Cole throw away chances in the dying moments that could of won the game.
If the game is lost their Israeli manager will taste relegation for the second successive season, after seeing cash-strapped Portsmouth drop into the npower Championship. However Grant insists things are different now and he will take comfort in the fact that Scott Parker could return for the game and he will be able to select his first eleven from nearly a full first team, minus O’ Neil and Noble.
The confidence boost will come from the fact that the Hammers will then feature 4 senior England internationals. Including Robert Green, who’s recent declaration that he may put his England career on hold has caused confusion and dismay in the football world. Either way, this would be a positive for the Hammers if they find themselves in the Championship next season. Good luck to them on Sunday, they’ll need it.