Dowie out to relegate Hammers

Hull manager is happy to put his past loyalties aside in order to beat the drop
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The Independent Online

Iain Dowie would have few qualms about easing Hull City's plight and deepening his former club West Ham United's woes at the foot of the Barclays Premier League by leading the Tigers to victory over Burnley on tomorrow.

Dowie, a boyhood West Ham fan who scored 13 goals in 81 appearances for the Hammers, is preparing the Tigers for tomorrow's "colossal" contest with Burnley.

Hull currently occupy the final place in the relegation zone, three points ahead of Burnley and one point behind West Ham, but with a game in hand. And with six games remaining, Dowie is focused solely on helping Hull to avoid the drop and would have no mixed emotions if his side survived at the expense of his former club.

"Nothing would give me greater pleasure than to keep Hull in the Premier League – that would be a fantastic achievement," Dowie said. "Whoever else goes down, I don't care.

"Would it be fantastic if we stayed up and West Ham stayed up? Great. That's probably unlikely, but let's deal with what we've got to deal with first."

First up for Hull is Burnley, who will be reeling from their 6-1 defeat to Manchester City last weekend. "They'll be hurting, that I think will add to the spice of the game," added Dowie.

Burnley's woeful away record – they have one point from 16 matches away from Turf Moor – will mean Hull will be favourites to emerge with a seventh win of the season. "We've got to take care of business on Saturday," added Dowie. "I understand how colossal a game it is, not just for the club but for the city of Hull. If we were to win this game it would give us huge impetus.

"We do have that extra game in the bag and it would put things in our control, which would be very nice."

Victory over the Clarets at the KC Stadium would see Hull six points better off than Brian Laws' side. And Dowie believes Wolves, Bolton, Wigan and West Ham, who meet Sunderland tomorrow, would be looking over their shoulders nervously.

He said: "I think Sunderland are definitely out of it now and the rest of us are where we are. What we must do is get a result to draw others into it. All of a sudden other teams are under pressure."

Dowie is the Tigers' temporary football management consultant and has been in charge for three games since manager Phil Brown was placed on gardening leave. He was handed nine games to turn the momentum and secure Premier League survival and has suffered two defeats, but enjoyed a welcome 2-0 victory over Fulham when Hull last played at home. His enthusiasm and positive outlook has rubbed off on the players and the squad are excited ahead of the match.

"I sense there's an eagerness for Saturday to come around," he said.

Hull could receive a welcome boost with George Boateng given a 45 per cent chance of playing. The former Dutch international midfielder was carried off on a stretcher in last Saturday's loss to Stoke after being struck in the face by Tuncay Sanli's overhead kick. Brain scans and X-rays have given Boateng the all-clear.

However, if he has symptoms of concussion, he will not be risked. Dowie said: "He was in this morning, bright smile on his face, little bit sore, little bit groggy. Are we hopeful? Yes we are. Would I say he was going to play? I would say 55 per cent no, 45 per cent yes. It will go to the wire."

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