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West Ham preview

We received a boost this week with the signing of Vincent Kompany, although his clearance hasn't arrived in time for him to line-up tomorrow, and are the reports of our financial meltdown a thing of the past with us now being linked with Thierry Henry.

It doesn't help ahead of tomorrow though with Bojinov joining Benjani and Darius Vassell on the sidelines and Olympic bronze winning Jo not available until next week. Richard Dunne completes his suspension ahead of what is going to be a crucial week for us with two tricky league games and the UEFA return in Denmark sandwiched in between.

Said Mark Hughes ahead of tomorrow:
"West Ham got off to a good start last weekend and we are expecting an open enough game. From my point of view, I am looking for us to be nice and solid defensively with that platform and understanding that allows us to go on the front-foot and dictate to the opposition."
All very positive and upbeat, but how much that will reflect reality given that confidence levels may not be too high and with a potentially restless crowd in attendance.

West Ham hope to have striker Dean Ashton (calf) and midfielder Scott Parker (thigh) fit for the game. Defender Anton Ferdinand - still involved in a 'will he, won't he' move to Sunderland remains sidelined with a hamstring injury, as does Wales forward Craig Bellamy.

Kieron Dyer (broken leg), Jonathan Spector (hip), George McCartney (virus), Danny Gabbidon (stomach), James Tompkins (leg) and James Collins (knee) are still out.

The Hammers cleared the decks to a degree over the summer and look a stronger proposition than they did this time last year (when we dispatched them on opening day).

We played out a couple of tight games at Eastlands over the course of a few days in January and I don't see any reason for tomorrow to pan out any differently with goals not likely to be in abundance.

We of course go in with concerns in all departments, although I expect the defence to bounce back from last weeks disappointment.

Unless Rolando Bianchi receives a call from purgatory (and he has been named in the squad), it will necessitate an inexperienced strike force which will likely see Hughes again adopt the a 4-4-1-1 line-up to allow Elano a more advanced role in support.

I'm sure both sides will be happy to come away with a point from the game, and feel that a 1-1 draw is the likeliest outcome from match-up.