Date: 12th February 2016 at 12:34pm
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Norwich City go into this game on the back of a horrendous run of six straight defeats. in anybody’s book that is relegation form, no question.

Alex Neil’s side need a win against West Ham, it has become vitally important to seize the opportunity to get the three points before tough games against Leicester and then Chelsea.

This match will be far from easy though with the Hammers having some terrific players in their side. It does remind me though of the last time we were in the Premier League in early 2014 when then, as now, City were on a dismal run. A win against the visiting West Ham side in 2014 sparked a mini resurgence, let’s hope this could be the start of something similar.

TEAM NEWS:

NORWICH

Alex Tettey will miss the second game of his two match ban due to suspension while Graham Dorrans should’ve recovered from injury.

WEST HAM

West Ham suffered injury hell in Tuesday night’s win over Liverpool. Winston Reid, Joey O’Brien (both hamstring) and Cheikhou Kouyate (concussion) are all out with injuries suffered in the midweek FA Cup win.

Alex Song has shaken off the knock that kept him out of that game, while Sam Byram is available again after being cup-tied.


THE MANAGERS:

West Ham manager Slaven Bilic: ‘We lost our last league game at Southampton and we have a good game to bounce back.

‘To stay up there we need to get something out of the game. Norwich lost five in a row, but five games ago they were in a good situation.

‘They had a good transfer window. They are fighting and they need a result like crazy so I expect a tough game. But we are confident and if we play like we did against Liverpool we will have a good chance.’

Norwich City manager Alex Neil:

“Once you get a victory under your belt, the picture changes again, I think that’s what happens when you’re down at the bottom end of the table, particularly when things are so tight.

“I’m confident that this week will be a good week for us. We need to go to try and pick up these three points.”



WHAT TO EXPECT:

West Ham have a very lengthy injury list and have lost some big players for this game. Will that help Norwich? You’d hope so but it will also give a chance to other players to stake a claim in Slaven Bilic’s high flying team.

In Dimitri Payet, the visitors have a tremendous playmaker. A wonderful player to watch, he makes goals, scores goals and is arguably the signing of the season. He makes West Ham tick and will need to be well shackled if City are to win the game.

Alex Neil has some big decisions to make in terms of team selection for this match and possibly the biggest of those is who will play in goal.

A survey by the EDP this week suggested that seventy odd percent of fans want John Ruddy returned to the side after Declan Rudd’s poor judgement for Villa’s second goal last week.

What does Neil do? Rudd got his chance because Ruddy was making errors and now Rudd is making errors. Catch 22 methinks.

Patrick Bamford gave an encouraging cameo debut at Villa Park and clearly offers something different to the squad, that’s another decision the gaffer has to make but it’s in defence that will be his biggest question.

Tim Klose is a definite starter, he has to be, having shown enough already to show he’s a decent player. Who plays alongside him though? Bassong, Martin or Bennett? It’d be Bennett for me and then there are the full backs, particularly the right back position.

Pinto, Wisdom, Whittaker and Martin, there’s plenty of choice but who’s the best? I think it’s between Pinto and Martin at the moment.

Robbie Brady is a favourite of the manager and with good reason. Olsson at left back with Brady ahead of him or Brady at left back and Jarvis on the wing? Take your pick. Wes Hoolahan must not play on the wing though. He is a number ten, Alex – nothing else. Why not play him in the middle of the three midfielders and then play Naismith on the right?

I’d be tempted to give it a go.

Every fan has a thought on team selection but none of them are the same. It’s tough for Alex Neil and a real test of his credentials at this level. Nobody said it was going to be easy eh?!

OTBC




 
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