Football

Hammers look to pile pressure on Saints

The Hammers can catch Southampton (©GettyImages)
The Hammers can catch Southampton (©GettyImages).

West Ham travel north to the Riverside to take on Middlesborough tonight in the pick of nine Npower Championship games.

The Hammers, who sit 2nd in the table, will look to add to their three game winning streak, but a trip to 4th placed Boro will be a test for Sam Allardyce's side.

"We're generally full of confidence because our away form has been brilliant, but we face a very tough game against Middlesbrough," said the Hammers boss.

Allardyce knows Middlesborough can be vulnerable though and said; "They have conceded a lot of winning positions where they have drawn.

"While they have played very well, they have left a few gaps for the opposition to capitalise on."

Boro boss, Tony Mowbray said; "It's a big game for us, but it's a big game for them as well.

"We should take strength and positives from our run and go into the game with no fear."

Mowbray admits it will be a physical encounter as West Ham have a lot of Barclays Premier League experience in their side; "They are a big physical unit who put the ball in your box and ask questions of you.

"They are trying to do what Newcastle did by keeping the nucleus of their side following relegation and power their way out of the division."

A win for the Hammers could send them top as league-leaders Southampton host Hull City, with the home side hoping to return to winning ways at St Mary's.

Bristol City, who defeated Saints on Saturday, will look for their fifth win in six games when they travel to Watford. An away win for City would see them leap-frog the Hornets.

Rock-bottom Doncaster travel south to Millwall – who sit just above the relegation zone in 21st. A win for Rovers at The New Den will move them off the bottom of the league.

Nottingham Forest are dangerously close to the drop zone too and they take on 5th place Leeds. Simon Grayson's side will look for their third away win in a row to add to Forest manager Steve Cotterill's woes.

Leicester host 6th place Blackpool at the King Power Stadium and victory for the Foxes will see them overtake the Tangerines and subsequently occupy their play-off place.

Brighton could also move into the top six with a win at out-of-form Derby. If Gus Poyet's side win it will make it five-straight losses for the Rams.

Mid-table Peterborough travel to the Madejski Stadium to face a Reading side equal on points with the Posh. A win for either side would propel them a few places up the table from 12th and 13th respectively.

Finally, Burnley and Ipswich will go head to head at Turf Moor, where a loss for either side could mean they become embroiled in and around the relegation places.

Topics:
Football
Championship

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