Premier League preview: West Ham United v Tottenham
By Football News
Mid-table West Ham welcome high-flying Tottenham Hotspur to Upton Park on Monday, looking to turn around a form slump.
Sam Allardyce's men have lost three of their past four - conceding 10 goals across the three outs - to fall to 11th in the table.
By contrast, Spurs have not lost a league match in 10, with their last defeat coming when they were denied by two very late goals away to Everton.
Andre Villas-Boas' men have plenty to play for in their final 12 matches of the season, as they sit fourth on 48 points - occupying a Champions League qualifying spot as it stands.
West Ham right-back Joey O'Brien looks like he will be charged with the unenviable role of silencing Gareth Bale, who has scored 10 goals in this past 12 Premier League matches.
Defender James Collins could be called up into the back four to add some stability to an unsure West Ham backline, after recovering from a hamstring injury that has sidelined him since their 3-0 reverse to Sunderland.
"I feel good. I am raring to go and can't wait to get back into training with the rest of the lads," Collins said.
"It is looking like I can do this in the lead up to the Tottenham game."
Collins missed a mid-season trip to Dubai recently, with midfielder Matthew Taylor claiming the Middle East venture would freshen up their side ahead of the run-in to May.
"It was nice to get away from the weather here and get the sun on our backs, but most importantly it was to keep the team together," Taylor said.
"We're hoping for the same effect as last year. It's something the manager has always done throughout his career with his teams and if he continues to do it, he must believe that it works. The proof is in the pudding."
The two sides' meeting earlier in the season - won by Tottenham 3-1 - was marred by allegations of anti-Semitic chanting from West Ham fans at White Hart Lane.
Last time they met at Upton Park, West Ham were 1-0 winners by means of a Frederic Piquionne goal in September 2010.