Wolves v West Ham preview
Now is the time for the Hammers to break their dismal away record
APPARENTLY there is a new dictionary on the market in the Wolverhampton branch of Waterstones.
Under the definition for Thuggery, it simply says Karl Henry, no other explanation is needed.
Of course, Henry’s x-certificate challenge on Wigan’s Jordi Gomez means he will miss Saturday’s clash with West Ham as the Hammers look for their first away league win since . . . well, since they last travelled to Molineux!
Added to that, striker Kevin Doyle, who embarrassed James Tomkins in that nightmare at Upton Park last March, is injured, so all looks positive for West Ham to continue their steady progress with a victory.
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Unlike West Ham, who rang the changes during the summer, Mick McCarthy has hardly touched his side.
Steven Fletcher has arrived from Burnley and will be looking to add to the two goals he scored for the Clarets against West Ham last year.
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The other arrivals have been Michael Mancienne from Chelsea and Marcus Bent from Birmingham, both on loan, while Stephen Hunt arrived from Hull City, but is injured.
Wolves have struggled in much the same way as the Hammers have this season. They haven’t won since the opening day when they beat Stoke City 2-1 at Molineux, and they have just five points as they sit above West Ham only on goal difference.
Fletcher has three goals this season and will be the one to watch, but goals are certainly a problem with just seven coming in the league this term, still better than West Ham’s five.
Like West Ham, Wolves have also made the last 16 in the Carling Cup, though their trip to Manchester United may be their undoing.
Saturday certainly won’t be easy for the Hammers. Before last season’s 2-0 opening-day victory they hadn’t won at Molineux in the league since 1983 when Trevor Brooking, Dave Swindlehurst and Tony Cottee scored in a 3-0 win.
McCarthy’s sides are always fighters and after the stinging criticism they have received over the last few weeks, they will be determined to prove everybody wrong and win with a flourish.
If West Ham are not on their game, then they could easily be swept away on a tide of Wolves emotion.
But this is the perfect opportunity to get off the mark away from home.
It may only be October, but this is already looking like a real six-pointer.
Possible team: Hahnemann, Foley, Berra, Craddock, Mancienne, Edwards, Jones, Jarvis, Ward, Ebanks-Blake, Fletcher.
Wolves 1 West Ham 2