Win or bust for the Hammers

CASH-stricken West Ham head into tonight s (Wednesday s) clash with Birmingham at Upton Park facing a win-or-bust scenario, both on and off the pitch. Victory will reignite their fight against relegation, but should they lose they will find themselves sli

CASH-stricken West Ham head into tonight's (Wednesday's) clash with Birmingham at Upton Park facing a win-or-bust scenario, both on and off the pitch.

Victory will reignite their fight against relegation, but should they lose they will find themselves slipping deeper into the mire.

Relegation would not only inflict a devastating blow to the team and fans, but it could tip the club's financial plight over the edge.

If the formbook is anything to go by, only a man with cash to burn would bet on the Hammers securing a victory against Alex McLeish's Blues.


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West Ham head into this evening's crunch match with the West Midlands outfit having not won in their last six games.

During this terrible sequence they have taken just two points from nine against relegation rivals Portsmouth, Blackburn Rovers and Burnley.

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Despite their poor run of form, Irons boss Gianfranco Zola is in a combative mood.

"They are a very strong side, it's not going to be easy for us, but we are determined, we are passionate about it and we're going to give them a very good game. The team is ready," he said defiantly.

"I think they (co-owners David Gold and David Sullivan) want to win the game, but everybody here wants to win the game.

"Not only because it is Birmingham City, but because we are in a position like we are and we want to be in a better one."

The two clubs last met in October when the Midlands club were in the middle of a 15-game unbeaten run in all competitions.

McLeish's side, who picked up 26 from a possible 36 Premier League points during that spell, were 1-0 winners on the day as former Hammer, and lifelong fan, Lee Bowyer, consigned the Londoners to defeat.

While West Ham are only four points away from 13th-placed Sunderland, they are also level with second-bottom Wolves, and could be usurped by the Black Country side if they take anything from their game against Spurs this evening.

The Hammers will welcome back Alessandro Diamanti, but they will be without new signing Benni McCarthy, who picked up an injury against Burnley.

Zola will also be without the services of young striker Frank Nouble who has joined Championship outfit West Brom on loan until the end of the season.

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