West Ham disappointed at cancellation of Arsenal game

Boxing Day fixture postponed due to Tube striker threat

West Ham assistant manager Neil McDonald is disappointed the Barclays Premier League clash with Arsenal on Boxing Day has been postponed.

A strike by London Underground staff means the game has had to be rescheduled for late January, easing the fixture congestion the majority of clubs face around the festive period.

The Hammers also have an increasing injury list, with manager Sam Allardyce only able to name six substitutes against West Brom, but McDonald believes they would have been better off playing the game on the original date.

"I think you can look at it both ways; yes it gives us an extra couple of days to get players back, but it does mean we will have an even busier January," he said.

"We would probably have preferred to play the game and we are slightly disappointed that it has been called off, but we will be ready when the game comes in January."

Arsenal are one of only two sides to win in the league at Upton Park this season and McDonald was relishing the challenge of facing Arsene Wenger's side at the Emirates Stadium.

He said: "After the good performance against West Brom away, keeping a clean sheet, and giving Arsenal a really good game earlier in the season, we were looking forward to going to the Emirates.

"I know they have picked up over the past couple of games but putting them under pressure would have been interesting to see."

Everton are the visitors to Upton Park on Saturday but they will be without the suspended Marouane Fellaini after he was handed a three-game ban for headbutting Stoke defender Ryan Shawcross last weekend.

Fellaini has scored eight times for the Toffees so far this season and McDonald is in no doubt that West Ham will benefit from his absence.

"He has been their talisman this season and not only is he a very good midfielder, he is also a big threat from set-pieces," he said. "They have lost a big part of their game so we need to take advantage of that as much as we can.

"We are happy with where we are right now and we need to carry it on and keep picking points up. The more we do that the more confidence we will have and that will allow us to pick up even more points. We are very much looking forward to the second half of the season.

"The expectation for this year was to pick up as many points as we can and we have done that, hopefully we can continue to play well.

"Looking at where we are now you would expect us to push on and finish near the middle of the table, but if we replicate our form from the first half of the season then a top-10 position could be a possibility."

There was welcome news on the injury front as midfielder Jack Collison played in an under-21 match against Norwich on Monday.

The 24-year-old Wales international has not played for the first team since the play-off final success over Blackpool and McDonald is keen for his reintroduction to be a patient one.

"I think we have to take it slow with Jack because he has been out for a long time," he said. "We have to manage his knee carefully but we got him through 45 minutes on Monday, which is great.

"We will see how he progresses but if we need him he will be available because we know he can play at least 45 minutes."

PA

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?
Season's finale brings the end of an era for top coaches and players across the continent

The end of an era across the continent

It's time to say farewell to Klopp, Clement, Casillas and Xavi this weekend as they move on to pastures new, reports Pete Jenson
Bin Laden documents released: Papers reveal his obsession with attacking the US and how his failure to keep up with modern jihad led to Isis

'Focus on killing American people'

Released Bin Laden documents reveal obsession with attacking United States
Life hacks: The innovations of volunteers and medical workers are helping Medécins Sans Frontières save people around the world

Medécins Sans Frontières's life hacks

The innovations of volunteers and medical workers around the world are helping the charity save people
Ireland's same-sex marriage vote: As date looms, the Irish ask - how would God vote?

Same-sex marriage

As date looms, the Irish ask - how would God vote?
The underworld is going freelance: Why The Godfather's Mafia model is no longer viable

The Mafia is going freelance

Why the underworld model depicted in The Godfather is no longer viable