West Ham looking to end five-game losing streak away from home
The Hammers take on Stoke this weekend
Friday 01 March 2013
West Ham hope to enhance their away record at Stoke tomorrow.
The Hammers have just eight points from 13 away games all season and have lost their last five away matches in the Barclays Premier League.
Assistant manager Neil McDonald hopes United, who last picked up a point on the road in the December draw at West Brom and most recently claimed three in the win at Newcastle in mid-November, can improve their record of three wins in 18 matches tomorrow and draw level on points with opponents Stoke.
"It's a stern test," said McDonald, who assumed manager Sam Allardyce's pre-match media duties.
"I think they're very well organised. They're quite direct with the way they play, into the forwards, then knocking it down and getting it wide.
"We have to deal with crosses, we have to deal with knock downs as well.
"Hopefully with our game and our game plan we can give them a little bit of a test as well.
"We're looking forward to the game and we're trying to put right what we haven't done over the last four or five away games."
Stoke have one win in five matches and McDonald hopes the Hammers can extend the hosts' poor run, having pushed high-flying Tottenham close on Monday night only for Gareth Bale to score twice to seal a 3-2 victory for his side at Upton Park.
McDonald added: "You always have to take something positive. Apart from Gareth Bale on Monday scoring two goals we've acquitted ourselves really well against a top-four team.
"If we do that away from home, we've got every chance of getting a result."
McDonald is trying to focus on the positives with his side's safety still to be assured.
The 14th-placed Hammers have 30 points and sit six points above the relegation zone.
They will have to perform without captain Kevin Nolan, at least in the short term, after the midfielder was ruled out with a broken toe.
Reports had suggested Nolan could miss up to eight weeks and therefore a significant portion of the season run-in.
West Ham hope intensive treatment will allow Nolan to return for the next league fixture, on March 17 at Chelsea.
Mark Noble is doubtful with an arm problem, but Guy Demel is fit to continue despite going off against Spurs.
Demel was replaced by Emanuel Pogatetz, who was given a torrid time by Aaron Lennon, but has been backed by McDonald.
McDonald said: "He was against a good player in (Aaron) Lennon. He had a few problems; he didn't stop enough crosses.
"It's always difficult in the last 20 minutes coming into a game.
"He's settled in okay."
Latest in Sport
Arsenal transfer news and rumours: Gabriel Paulista sent to Paris to speed up move; Luis Suarez bid planned; Gunners eye Daniele Rugani
Gabriel Paulista: Talented Brazilian could grow into world-class defender at Arsenal
Floyd Mayweather vs Manny Pacquiao: Pair finally meet at NBA game and shake hands, will the fight be announced during Super Bowl?
Andy Murray vs Tomas Berydch: Murray cool over reunion with coach Dani Vallverdu at the Australian Open
Manchester United transfer news and rumours: David De Gea new deal; Gareth Bale on speculation; Wilfried Zaha exit
- 2 Mystery man who gave mum heart-warming note on train 'wanted to put a smile on her face'
- 5 Amal Clooney gives excellent answer to fashion question at European Court of Human Rights
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British Muslim school children suffering a backlash of abuse following Paris attacks
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Liberal Democrat minister defends comments suggesting immigration causes pub closures
Louise Mensch says 'F**K YOU' in explosive tweets about David Cameron, Saudi Embassy and the Queen over King Abdullah tributes