West Ham United head to Leicester City tonight knowing they must leave with all three points in order to keep their automatic promotion hopes alive.
A defeat to Championship winners Reading and draws with Bristol City and Birmingham in recent weeks have really dented the Hammers’ hopes of making a swift return to the Premier League, following relegation from the top flight last season.
Manager Sam Allardyce has had plenty of money to spend but too many mistakes at home this term have really cost the London outfit. Thankfully for the former Bolton Wanderers and Blackburn Rovers boss, their clash on Monday against the Foxes is not at Upton Park (Leicester 13/8, draw 12/5, West Ham 8/5 – Betfred
The Hammers have a three-pronged attack which will be looking to cause the Leicester defence problems away from the pressure of their home fans in the capital. Carlton Cole and Ricardo Vaz Te (11/8 to score anytime) have 12 and 10 goals this season respectively, with the latter proving to be decent signing, since moving from Barnsley in the January transfer window.
Backed up by attacking midfielder Kevin Nolan (7/1 first goalscorer) making runs from the middle of the park and chipping in goals, the former Newcastle United star also has 12 strikes to his name this term and is certainly worth a look at for first goalscorer at the King Power Stadium.
West Ham go into his game on the back of a frustrating 1-1 draw with Bristol City, which gave Southampton a chance to claim that second automatic promotion spot, which they squandered in a 2-1 defeat to Middleborough. The Hammers will be looking to keep up the pressure on the Saints but it will not be easy against the Foxes on Monday.
Leicester were touted as potential favourites to earn promotion back to the Premier League this season, having spent plenty in the summer. Manager Nigel Pearson has seen has side fall out of the race for the play-offs and the squad at the King Power might already have their eyes set on a push for promotion next season.
The Foxes go into their penultimate Championship game on the back of a drab goalless draw with Burnley in their last outing. That game epitomised where Pearson’s side are at at the moment, with things not clicking in the east midlands. Leicester still have some quality players in their side and expect the likes of Jermaine Beckford and David Nugent to get chances in this game.
With West Ham being the side with something to play for and the fact Allardyce’s men are away from the pressure cooker that is Upton Park at the moment, the Hammers should take all three points at the King Power Stadium.