Can the Hammers end their Bolton jinx?

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A few years ago a West Ham fan wrote a book called ‘An Irrational Hatred of Luton’, the title came from the fact that no matter how good West Ham were they always seemed to lose to Luton.

With Luton now not playing the Hammers this for me has been replaced by Bolton Wanderers, who they play this Saturday at Upton Park. In the past ten years in the meetings between both teams West Ham have triumphed only three times, all at home and one of those was in the FA Cup.

In the other 15 games West Ham have lost 12 of them, the best they have ever managed at the Reebok Stadium is a draw and that was also in the FA Cup.

On top of this Bolton were the team directly above the Hammers when they were relegated in 2003 with the most amount of points, 42, any team has accumulated when going down, so as you can see Saturday's game does not fill me with much hope as it should.

I’m sure I am not the only football fan who thinks Bolton at home should be three points in the bag. Player-v-player, when written down, you would think that we should not struggle the way we have done in the past.

In Bolton’s squad they have only two players I would be happy to watch at Upton Park, the keeper Jussi Jaaskelainen and Martin Petrov who they have just signed from Manchester City.

Look at West Ham's spine of Matthew Upson, Scott Parker and Carlton Cole, all three England internationals, throw in Herita Illunga at left back, Mark Noble and Radoslav Kovac in the centre next to Scott Parker and you can see that im not expecting too much in thinking that West Ham should win.

Unfortunately football is not as easy writing names down on paper and saying that this team is better than that team.

Teamwork is possibly Bolton’s best asset, they play to the strengths of their striker Kevin Davies who, as well as having an annoying habit of scoring regularly against West Ham, is more often or not involved in the build up to the goals they score as well.

Also at the back they have Cahill who has been knocking on the door of England with his good performances last season and behind him is perhaps the most underrated goalkeeper in the Premiership, Jaaskelainen.

His loyalty to Bolton must be commended as I’m sure he could have moved to a top four club in the pursuit of medals and in Bolton’s Premiership life he has only missed 12 games in nine years.

Hopefully Avram Grant has ironed out the deficiencies of the team's performance against Aston Villa last time out. Perhaps starts for new players Pablo Barrera and Frederic Piquionne, who came on at the start of the second half against Villa and showed a big improvement from the first half.

When you are building a new team as West Ham are, it will take a bit of time for the team to settle and with new players rumoured to be still arriving, the team at the start of this season may be slightly different to the team that finishes it so the quicker this team gels the better as this may be the best chance they have of keeping their position in the team.

Disclaimer: The views in this article are that of the writer and may not replicate those of the Professional Footballers' Association.

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