Premier League preview: Newcastle v West Ham
By Football News
The Hammers head to St James' Park on Sunday on the back of an impressive home display that earned them a point against the reigning champions.
And the fact Newcastle enter the match after a tough fixture on Thursday against Club Brugge, where they drew 2-2, only enhances the visitors' chances.
But as encouraging as the past week has been for West Ham, they have only won three of their past 41 Premier League games away from Upton Park and will start as clear underdogs.
Expect them to look to feed Andy Carroll in the air, which is where his strength lies and they can always change things up from the bench by bringing on Carlton Cole for a bit of extra pace.
Newcastle come into this game off the back of a solid draw against Liverpool at Anfield.
Alan Pardew's men find themselves one point and one place behind West Ham and will be desperate to put in a strong performance against their mid-table rivals in front of their proud supporters.
The passionate Newcastle fans should be extra loud given the match marks West Ham skipper Kevin Nolan and striker Carroll's returns to Newcastle.
Nolan should be given a decent reception, but the same cannot be said for team-mate Carroll, who left Newcastle for Liverpool in a 35 million-pound move and had a torrid time at St James' Park when he went there with the Reds.
West Ham manager Sam Allardyce also returns to face his old side and will know this fixture could be the Hammers' last chance to snare three points before Christmas with matches against Tottenham, Manchester United and Arsenal to follow.
Allardyce has won his last four matches as a Premier League coach against Newcastle, including the two games since they fired him in January 2008.