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West Ham United Vs Newcastle United, Sat 23 Oct 2010

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Avram Grant has warned West Ham may have to start getting nasty with referees if they continue to pay the price for being a soft touch.

The Hammers have been on the wrong end of a string of bad decisions so far this season, the most recent being a disallowed Frederic Picquionne goal that cost them victory at Wolves last weekend.

Grant is convinced that teams who are "aggressive" towards match officials end up earning an advantage. And he admitted the bottom-of-the-table Hammers will have to consider a Jekyll and Hyde personality switch if things do not start improving soon.

"Everybody needs to be aware that teams who don't behave sportingly and always go to the referee have an advantage over teams that behave nicely," Grant said.

"Last week it cost us two points and because there are so many decisions against us I start to think that because we are nice the other team has an advantage.

"I don't want to think it is because my players behave well and they don't jump on the referees and we on the bench are very sporting - but it is affecting us.

"It is not in my way to say 'Scott Parker, next time slide-tackle the referee' - but I will think about this if I see it continue.

"I still believe if we continue to play the football we have played in the last weeks we will have enough points not to these things.

"If it happens again in the next game, I think we need to think about this. I don't have a solution at the moment."

West Ham are unbeaten in the five games Manuel da Costa has played this season and the Portuguese defender is available despite being on police bail.

Matthew Upson is set to come straight back into the team after recovering from a neck injury, while Pablo Barrera and Valon Behrami are both pressing for inclusion.

Carlton Cole is once again set for a place on the bench but Grant insisted he had not lost faith in his England striker.

"There is no doubt he has quality and will be good for us," said Grant. "We want to keep him. If you want to build something it is good to bring players in who will improve the team but when you have a good player it is not a good idea to sell him."

Fabricio Coloccini will once again provide the backbone to the Newcastle team as the Magpies attempt to secure a first victory in four Premier League games to ease themselves back up the table.

Kevin Nolan will return to the squad after being rested last weekend, while full-back Danny Simpson will hope to make his first senior appearance of the season after getting a third reserve team game under his belt this week following his recovery from an ankle injury.

Simpson could be drafted in at right-back with summer signing James Perch finding life tough in the Premier League, especially last Saturday when he was taught a lesson by Wigan's flying Frenchman Charles N'Zogbia.

Newcastle have collected eight points from as many games to date and lie uncomfortably close to the foot of the table, but boss Chris Hughton is convinced they will get stronger as the campaign goes on.

He said: "We are a club that is just back into the Premier League and we are learning with every game.

"We have got players who are adjusting to this division and learning with every game, so I don't want to look at too many negatives. There are plenty of positives to look at.

"Whichever games we go into, they are all big games. We play at West Ham on Saturday, we have Arsenal [in the Carling Cup] on the Wednesday and then of course the big derby game [against Sunderland] on the Sunday.

"They are all big games in this division and we have just got to make sure we go about our business the best way we can in all of them."

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Topics:
Football
Premier League
Newcastle United
West Ham United

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