Sunday's big match preview
WEST HAM haven t condemned a team to relegation on the last day of the season since they sent Cambridge United through the trap door back in 1993. Their demise out of the Football League is unlikely to befall Middlesbrough, but the odds are 66/1 on that G
WEST HAM haven't condemned a team to relegation on the last day of the season since they sent Cambridge United through the trap door back in 1993.
Their demise out of the Football League is unlikely to befall Middlesbrough, but the odds are 66/1 on that Gareth Southgate will be looking up the route to Doncaster's Keepmoat Stadium after Sunday's clash.
For West Ham there is nothing to play for except the outside possibility of overhauling Spurs in the table, but that should be incentive enough for them to really go for it.
Middlesbrough have been pretty awful all season. They have lost 14 of their 18 away games so far, with victories at Wigan in October (1-0) and Aston Villa in November (2-1) the only wins they have to show for their efforts.
Goals have been their biggest problem. Tuncay Sanli is the top scorer with just eight, while big flop Afonso Alves is out for the season and their other flop - Mido - was sent off on loan to Wigan back in January.
Coming the other way was Marlon King, who could have the dubious pleasure of helping two teams to relegation this season, if Boro and Hull City take the drop.
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- 4 Barking cash and carry boss jailed for five years for money laundering
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- 10 Dagenham landlord fined for unlawful eviction after secretly changing locks
Add to that his relegation with Watford a couple of seasons ago and he is becoming the new Nigel Quashie!
Star man Stewart Downing is set to miss Sunday's showdown with a foot injury after being carried off during Saturday's 1-1 draw with Villa and without his service, it is difficult to see how Boro are going to carve out any chances.
Downing was vital in their FA Cup draw at Upton Park back in February, as well as the replay victory, while three days after that he helped his side beat Liverpool at the Riverside.
Since then, Boro have won just one game in the last 11, and with no win in five, that is relegation form.
Middlesbrough need to win on Sunday and hope that Newcastle and Hull City lose, but they will also have to overcome a four-goal turnround in the goal difference stakes.
A tall order, especially as the Tigers are taking on Manchester United reserves.
Boro haven't won at Upton Park in eight attempts, the last success being a 1-0 victory in 2000 thanks to former Hammer Brian Deane's penalty.
They don't seem to have the personnel to do it this Sunday either and West Ham should go out with a final day bang.
PROBAble team: Jones, Bates, Wheater, Huth, Hoyte, O'Neil, Johnson, Arca, Sanli, King, Emnes.
West Ham 3 Boro 1