West Ham United Vs Wolves, Tue 23 Mar 2010

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West Ham hope to welcome back captain Scott Parker from a leg injury for the crucial Barclays Premier League clash against fellow strugglers Wolves.

Striker Carlton Cole is pressing for a start after coming off the bench at Arsenal, along with Benni McCarthy.

Julian Faubert, Kieron Dyer, Danny Gabbidon and Jack Collison could all be available after nursing minor injuries but defender Manuel Da Costa must serve the last of his three-match ban.

Boss Gianfranco Zola knows another defeat against Wolves - a point and a place above the Irons - would heap more pressure on his shoulders, as co-owners David Gold and David Sullivan become increasingly concerned by the position of the east London club, just above the relegation zone.

"The Wolves game will be massive, a six-pointer," the Italian declared. "We have to face the match with focus and concentration, but without doing silly things."

Zola continued: "I would have been enjoying it a bit more if we were in a different position, but that is football.

"You still like the competitive side of it.

"The team is not in a very good position, but I am enjoying finding ways to get the best of my players in difficult conditions."


Wolves manager Mick McCarthy is set to name an unchanged side for the seventh successive match.

McCarthy has no injury concerns following the weekend's 2-2 draw at Aston Villa.

Midfielder Adlene Guedioura was withdrawn at half-time at Villa Park but that was a tactical switch and he is poised to retain his starting role.

Wales midfielder Dave Edwards is again in contention for a place on the bench after being sidelined since December following ankle surgery.

McCarthy believes all the pressure will be on Gianfranco Zola's side and feels victory would have a real impact on Wolves' survival hopes.

He said: "It is their home game and they will be expected to beat us.

"In this fixture the pressure is on them.

"You can all do the maths. If we win this it will put a real dent in West Ham and it would certainly put some real daylight between us and Burnley and Hull.

"What would it do to us psychologically? What would it do to the rest of them psychologically?

"If we don't lose it would be a hell of a result for us. It is a huge game but more so for West Ham.But it won't be easy, that's for sure."

McCarthy expects West Ham to have targeted this game as key in their bid to stay up but that does not alarm the former Sunderland boss.

He added: "That would wind me up if I was going there as a player.

"I would take it is a personal slight on me that they think they could target us as a victory.

"Anyone who thinks that we are a soft touch has maybe had to change their opinion.

"When we were beaten by West Ham on the opening day of the season there was a lot of hollering and hooting going on that we were destined for the drop and they were destined for bigger and better things.

"It is amazing how, with eight games to play, we are all in the mix for the drop.

"So there is a damn sight more pressure on them now than there was 30 games ago."

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

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