Sullivan calls on fans to back West Ham

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The Independent Football

West Ham co-owner David Sullivan has called on the Hammers fans to back the team in their bid for Premier League survival starting against Stoke tomorrow.

The Hammers went down 3-1 to Wolves on Tuesday and next up are the Potters at Upton Park.

Sullivan told the club's official website: "Saturday may be tense, on Saturday you will feel anxious and, at times, unsettled.

"I ask that we try not to transmit that on to the field, that we get behind the team and provide them with a platform. The rest is up to them."

Former West Ham midfielder Matthew Etherington believes his old club will provide Stoke with a tough challenge.

"It's a big game for us as well, but it's a massive game for them and I'm sure after Tuesday there will have been a lot of talking and heart-to-hearts to try and find out why they didn't play as well as they know they can."

Bolton boss Owen Coyle is planning an unusual 'double' this weekend - beating Manchester United with two different clubs in one season.

Coyle led Burnley to victory over United in August and now he has the opportunity to repeat the feat with Bolton at the Reebok Stadium.

Coyle said: "Although this game is a completely different one to when I was at Burnley, it's one I think we can win, and we have to be at our best to do that."

Stewart Downing is confident Aston Villa will not be daunted by their trip to Stamford Bridge to face Chelsea.

Downing said: "Stamford Bridge is a hard place to get a win at but we are confident. We beat them at home. It might be a good game for us to win."

Birmingham manager Alex McLeish admits his side have lost some of the form that propelled them up the league but defended the team ahead of the clash with Arsenal.

McLeish told the club's website: "We are going through a bit of a hiatus but they are only human these guys."

Tottenham striker Peter Crouch believes the race for fourth will go all the way until the end of the season although the north London club are now in control of their own destiny.

Ahead of the game against his former club Portsmouth, Crouch said: "It's in our hands now, but we've got very difficult fixtures, so it'll go right to the wire."

Pompey first-team coach Paul Groves admits management are powerless to prevent any sales there may be at the club.

Relegation is all but assured at Fratton Park and Groves said: "That's something that's out of our hands and if it does happen then we'll just have to accept it."

Jimmy Bullard insists it is not all about him as Hull prepare for a crucial clash against Fulham.

Midfielder Bullard, who returned to the side after recovering from his latest serious knee injury, is seen as the key figure in their relegation battle.

He said: "It's not all down to me. It's a team game so we all need to stick together and we need a good win come Saturday."

Roy Hodgson will check on Bobby Zamora ahead of the game after the striker was taken ill during the FA Cup quarter-final replay defeat at Tottenham.

The Cottagers manager was uncertain whether the former Spurs forward would be ready for the clash at the KC Stadium.

Hodgson revealed: "I don't know. Hopefully it's not a serious problem."

Wolves boss Mick McCarthy has told his players "not to take their foot off the gas" ahead of the clash with Everton.

McCarthy said: "We can't just take our foot off the gas and think we are in the Premier League for the foreseeable future. We need more points."

Everton defender Phil Jagielka believes Jack Rodwell could bloom as an attacking midfielder, likening him to Steven Gerrard.

Jagielka told the club's website: "It took Steven Gerrard a couple of seasons to shrug off the defensive midfielder tag and become an all-round midfielder and now he's obviously a goalscoring attacking midfielder."

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