Will Harewood come back to haunt Hammers?

Former Hammer Marlon Harewood returns to Upton Park with Blackpool on Saturday.

IT IS an unwritten rule that former players returning to West Ham are almost certain to score against their old employers.

And so, Hammers fans must prepare for Marlon Harewood to hit the net at Upton Park on Saturday, just as he did so successfully over the years for West Ham.

Harewood’s 56 goals in claret and blue made him the most successful striker at West Ham in the first 10 years of the 21st century, and though his career has stuttered since then, he is beginning to find his feet at Bloomfield Road, with three goals so far.

Blackpool, like Harewood, have surprised everybody this season, not least themselves.

Many wrote them off as the worst team ever to grace the Premier League, but they have already gleaned 14 pionts from 11 games and sit proudly in 12th place in the table, well clear of basement-boys West Ham.

Much of that is down to the influence of pocket dynamo Ian Holloway. Known mostly for his jokes during press conferences, he has a real steely streak and has shown it this term, while his team play very much in his image.

Most Read

There was little cash to bolster the squad during the summer, but Holloway has struck gold with one or two of his acquisitions.

DJ Campbell was on loan last term, and is now a permanent member of the strikeforce, while the likes of Matt Phillips from Wycombe, Elliott Grandin from CSKA Sofia and Craig Cathcart from Manchester United have all played a part.

Charlie Adam is the top scorer with four goals, while Luke Varney, on loan from Derby County has three.

Blackpool have already won three away games this season, and that is before their clash at Aston Villa tonight (Wednesday).

They thumped Wigan 4-0 on the opening day, while also winning 2-0 at Newcastle and 2-1 at Liverpool.

The Seasiders have not been in the top flight since 1970-71 and that was the last time the two teams met at Upton Park, with goals from Jimmy Greaves and Peter Eustace giving them a 2-1 win.

However, beware complacency. That same year, Blackpool thrashed the Hammers 4-0 in an embarrassingly one-sided FA Cup tie after Greaves and Bobby Moore were seen in a nightclub until the early hours the night before.

That is unlikely to happen this time round and West Ham should have enough, to see them off.

Possible team: Gilks, Eardley, Cathcart, Crainey, Evatt, Southern, Adam, Vaughan, Harewood, Taylor-Fletcher, Campbell.


West Ham 4 Blackpool 2