West Ham eager to take advantage of Southampton slip in promotion race


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The Independent Football

James Tomkins is confident West Ham can take advantage of the promotion lifeline handed to them by Southampton's defeat to Middlesbrough.

After the Saints missed out on clinching second place in the npower Championship, West Ham can keep the promotion race alive into the final weekend of the season with a victory at Leicester tonight.

If Sam Allardyce's men fail to win at the King Power Stadium then Southampton's place in the Barclays Premier League will be confirmed, leaving West Ham to negotiate the play-offs.

But Tomkins, named in the PFA's Championship Team of the Year last night, is confident the Hammers can extend their new club record of 12 away wins in a season and keep the pressure on Southampton.

"We are still confident," the defender told whufc.com.

"I think our away record has been really good this year and our home form, as we showed the other day (in beating Brighton 6-0), is definitely better as well.

"We go into games confident. We're disappointed (to be in this position) but we're still positive.

"Of course we can go into the play-offs and win them. It's not the end of the world.

"We will concentrate on the rest of the season first, though, because it's still mathematically possible that we could go up automatically.

"We just have to concentrate on that."

Even if West Ham win they will need to beat Hull at Upton Park next Saturday and hope relegated Coventry do them a favour against the Saints.

Allardyce is waiting on the fitness of striker Carlton Cole plus defenders George McCartney and Joey O'Brien before finalising his line-up.

Leicester were expected to mount a promotion challenge this season but saw their play-off ambitions erased with a goalless draw against Burnley on Tuesday.

The Foxes are unbeaten at home in 10 games and they could be boosted by the return to action of Darius Vassell and Martyn Waghorn, who scored for the reserves in midweek.

"We are obviously disappointed we didn't get promoted or make the play-offs but you can't go into the final games thinking there's nothing on them," Leicester defender Lee Peltier told lcfc.com.

"It's been a tough season and it's important we start looking towards next season, rebuilding and making another go of it."