West Ham enter into this weekend’s clash with struggling Nottingham Forest knowing that victory will see them claim top spot off Southampton – for 48 hours at least.
The Saints host Leicester on Monday night, so the Hammers could climb to the top of the Championship for the first time this season with victory at home against the Tricky Trees.
Sam Allardyce’s men may have the best away record in English football’s second tier this season, but it’s been at Upton Park where West Ham have stuttered, with defeats against Cardiff, Ipswich and Burnley, not to mention stalemates with Leeds and Bristol City.
Injuries have played a part, but with Gary O’ Neil, Abdoulaye Faye, Winston Reid, Henri Lansbury and Sam Baldock all returning to fitness over the last few weeks, the Hammers have won their last two at home.
They are priced at 3/5 with bwin to make it three consecutive victories in east London, with the draw at 11/4 and a Forest win at 17/4.
West Ham’s last three Championship victories have been by a single goal and with Big Sam’s predilection for function over style, another triumph of this nature may be on the cards.
Visitors Forest, on the other hand, are in disarray. After two top-six finishes in the last two seasons, the east Midlands side sit 22nd in the Championship table, two points off safety.
A midweek 4-0 hammering away to Leicester in an FA Cup third-round replay followed a miserable 3-0 capitulation against Southampton last Saturday at the City Ground.
Forest’s cause is hindered further by suspension to captain Luke Chambers, who was dismissed against the Saints last weekend. He joins Chris Cohen, Wes Morgan and Ishmael Miller on boss Steve Cotterill’s list of absentees.
The two-time European Cup winners have now registered only one win in nine and that record doesn’t look like changing at Upton Park on Saturday, as Forest have failed to win there since New Year’s Day 1997.
They have also lost six of their eight meetings with sides in the top six this season, including a 4-1 home defeat to West Ham back in August.
A similar outcome is priced up at 22/1 and for new customers using their free £25 bet to back this scoreline, it could be worth £575 if a repeat occurs.
This seems unlikely though – West Ham’s last three Championship victories have been by a single goal and with Big Sam’s predilection for function over style, another triumph of this nature may be on the cards.
A West Ham victory with a total of under 2.5 combined goals scored could be this weekend’s canny bet, and at odds of 31/10 it could potentially be worth £102.50 to new customers using their free £25 bet.
New customers can register here to claim a free £25 bet or click here to see all our Championship odds.
Follow us on Twitter @bwinbetting