David Moyes backs Avram Grant to improve West Ham

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The Independent Football

Everton manager David Moyes believes Avram Grant has the ability to turn West Ham's dismal situation around if given time.

Grant was widely reported to have been three games away from the sack earlier this month. Since then the Hammers have drawn with Blackburn and beaten Fulham to move off the bottom of the Barclays Premier League.

That has eased the pressure on the Israeli, who has found life difficult since succeeding Gianfranco Zola in the summer, and Moyes believes the improvement could continue.

Moyes, whose side face the Hammers at Upton Park this evening, said: "I know Avram Grant and I think he's done a good job at the clubs he's been with.

"He did a good job when he took over at Chelsea and a good job at Portsmouth.

"I think the West Ham job was a tough one. The situation they were in was always going to make it hard for it to be turned around.

"I think he went into a difficult situation and I hope he does well, but obviously after we beat them.

"There is a lot of flak flying about. There is somebody every day saying he shouldn't be in his job but he handles it very well.

"He knows he has got a difficult job but everybody would have to say he has gone about it with a lot of dignity."

Everton are itching to get back into action after their Boxing Day clash against Birmingham was postponed because of frozen pipes at Goodison Park.

Because of that Everton, who travel to Stoke on Saturday, now face a run of three successive away games but Moyes hopes momentum from last week's memorable win at Manchester City can be maintained.

Moyes said: "It is a difficult period to play three away games at those grounds. It is a tough run for us.

"If you ask any team to play three games away from home you are not sure where your results come from at times.

"But we've got one under our belt and now hopefully we are going to go to West Ham and do the same."

Everton are hoping defenders Phil Jagielka and John Heitinga, who were doubtful to face Birmingham with thigh and knee injuries respectively, have had the extra time to recover.

Steven Pienaar is also back in contention after a groin injury and Mikel Arteta returns from suspension but Victor Anichebe is banned.