Football

West Ham United Vs Everton, Tue 28 Dec 2010

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Boss Avram Grant is confident the emotional high of West Ham's win over Fulham will trump any physical advantage Everton may have in their Barclays Premier League clash at Upton Park.

Grant accepts the visitors will be "more fresh" than his side after their game against Birmingham was postponed due to the frozen and burst pipes at Goodison Park.

But West Ham go into the match in east London having hauled themselves off the foot of the table courtesy of a 3-1 Boxing Day success at fellow strugglers Fulham.

There was also the added boost of it being their first league victory away from home since the opening day of last season - 28 matches earlier - as well as the fact it was achieved after they fell behind.

"Sometimes, when you win, it's also better than good training, so there's a psychological side," said Grant, who nevertheless admitted he would rather Everton had played.

"I would have preferred that they had played and we had come with an equal situation. Maybe we can use the psychological side and continue with winning.

"We have the character also to play two games in three days."

Grant, who was reportedly going to be sacked if he failed to record a win over the festive period, added: "I can assure you that nobody that will play Tuesday will be tired."

Finding 18 fit players could be the biggest problem for the Hammers, who were without 10 first teamers at Craven Cottage.

Valon Behrami, Victor Obinna, Pablo Barrera, Mark Noble, Kieron Dyer and Benni McCarthy played no part against Fulham, while Luis Boa Morte was suspended.

Boa Morte will return and there will be several fitness tests ahead of the game, in which Grant will definitely remain without Jack Collison, Manuel Da Costa and Thomas Hitzlsperger.

Grant knows the fragile confidence gained from the result could be shattered by a resurgent Everton, who won at Manchester City in their last outing.

"Everton are a very good team, with very good players," said Grant. "They played fantastic in the last game against Man City."

Everton manager David Moyes has revealed the postponement of their clash against Birmingham caught him by surprise.

The Scot admits he had no idea sub-zero temperatures had caused major problems at Goodison Park until he was told the game was off.

Everton were forced to call off the Barclays Premier League fixture due to several miles of frozen water pipes at the ground.

Moyes said: "We knew nothing about it until 10.30am on the day of the game. I had no inclination there was even the remotest chance the game could be off.

"If there was I would have spoken to (Birmingham manager) Alex McLeish. I know him and I feel more for them that they had to travel up, away from their families on Christmas Day.

"They came and put their kit out in the morning then found out the game was off. But it happens. People will tell you they have had frozen and burst pipes in their homes.

"It is not nice when it happens and it is no different for a football club. People wouldn't have had toilet facilities for three hours, no hot drinks. It would have been very difficult to put a game on under those circumstances."

The lack of action brought frustration for the players but Moyes hopes the break can work to their advantage.

Instead of playing, the Toffees held an extra training session to prepare for the trip to West Ham.

They also got the opportunity to watch the Hammers in action on television in the early Boxing Day kick-off.

Moyes said: "We came in and trained and watched the games, thinking we should have been playing.

"You miss it when it is like that, we would rather have played.

"It's hard for the players. They had prepared, trained Christmas Day and worked hard. They were ready for the game.

"But obviously the two games in three days was going to be hard for any squad.

"It gives one or two players a little more time and we are now hoping to build on the result at Manchester City at West Ham."

One benefit of the postponement is that defenders Phil Jagielka and John Heitinga have had an extra two days' rest.

Both were major doubts to face Birmingham due to thigh and knee injuries respectively.

The pair are still facing a battle to prove their fitness but Moyes is hopeful both will travel.

Steven Pienaar is also in contention after a groin problem and Mikel Arteta returns from suspension.

Copyright (c) PA Sport 2009, All Rights Reserved.

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Topics:
Football
Premier League
Everton
West Ham United

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