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West Ham v Reading tips - Can Hammers end run of draws at Upton Park?

England forward Carlton Cole reacts during the friendly match against Spain at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan stadium in Seville on February 11, 2009. Spain won 2-0. (CRISTINA QUICLER/AFP/Getty Images)
Undoubtedly the biggest match of the Championship season so far takes place at Upton Park, where West Ham or Reading could take a huge step towards a Premier League return.

Reading go into the game in second place, a point ahead of the Hammers, although with seven games to go it’s far from impossible that they could both catch leaders Southampton, five clear at the top.

West Ham boss Sam Allardyce has, however, written off his side’s chances of winning the title and strangely there is a distinctly negative vibe around the club at present.

Even after his side ended a run of five consecutive draws by winning at Peterborough this week, Big Sam had to verbally defend himself against disgruntled fans unhappy with the team’s style of play.

Yes, there is a tradition of fluid football in this part of London. But the Hammers are unbeaten in 11 and look in much better shape than this time 12 months ago when the only way was down.

Their squad, featuring the likes of Carlton Cole, Kevin Nolan and Robert Green, is the classiest in the Championship by some distance, so now it really is all about bottle and heart for the promotion run-in.

The Royals, meanwhile, have done brilliantly to separate themselves from the play-off scrum and challenge for an automatic spot, although there have been signs of a wobble in recent weeks.

Striker Jason Roberts has a chance of being fit after a hamstring injury and his presence would be vital for Brian McDermott’s side.

But you get the feeling that West Ham might have turned a corner by ending that frustrating sequence of draws and that Big Sam will have them right up for this one.

Coral go 13/10 about the hosts, which is highly tempting, while the 2/1 about man-for-the-big-occasion Kevin Nolan scoring at any time also appeals.

Prediction: West Ham @ 13/8 (Coral); Kevin Nolan to score at any time @ 2/1
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West Ham v Reading tips - Can Hammers end run of draws at Upton Park?

Undoubtedly the biggest match of the Championship season so far takes place at Upton Park, where West Ham or Reading could take a huge step towards a Premier League return.

Read more »