The importance surrounding this fixture suggests it should be towards the end of the season with both side’s fighting for the lives to stay in the Premier League.

So it’s perhaps a good thing that we’re in this position so early in the season and that there’s still a lot of time to put things right.

Both Sam Allardyce and Martin Jol are hanging on to their jobs with desperation and whoever loses this game might arguably be shown the door by their respective clubs, which gives this game added importance at the Boleyn Ground tonight.

Allardyce has repeatedly bemoaned his side’s bad luck over the past couple of months and has put our current position down to poor referring positions and a lack of strike options up front, rather than poor performances.

But we as fans are sick of hearing of how we lost another game of football despite playing well. It’s now time for the players to play well and finish the job with three points in the bag. No more excuses will work, and I suspect it’s getting the same way with David Gold and David Sullivan.

The fact we haven’t got a fit enough recognised striker isn’t going to wash anymore, either. Carlton Cole and Modibo Maiga are both fit and they do have the ability to score goals – but on;y if they’re used to their own strengths rather than made to fit in to what Allardyce wants his players to do. It’s time for him to allow his players to play the way they know how rather than the way he wants.

Our home record against Fulham is impressive and that’ll give fans and players alike the positivity needed to grab a much needed win and to start pulling away from the bottom three.

Jol’s Fulham are woeful away from home, too, which means there is absolutely no reason why we can’t put them to the sword and win this game comfortably, with or without a recognised striker.

Lastly, us fans can play our part as well. So if you’re going then make sure you get behind the lads from start to finish. Let’s help make Upton Park a fortress again.

Team News:

West Ham United (17th, 10 points)

There are no new injury problems for Sam Allardyce, who is still without Andy Carroll and Winston Reid.

Alou Diarra George McCartney could feature after recovering from long-term injuries.

Fulham (18th, 10 points)

Martin Jol will be without Dimitar Berbatov due to illness.

Brede Hangeland could feature, though, after a nerve problem.

Last 10 meetings:

Match in Numbers:

8 – The Hammers are unbeaten in their last eight home Premier League meetings against Fulham.

29 – There have been 29 goals in this fixture over the last four Premier League seasons.

350 – Kevin Nolan is set to make his 350th Premier League career appearance.

14 – Fulham have lost 14 of their 20 league matches.

12 – Fulham have conceded 12 goals in the first half this season, which is the joint worst league record with Norwich City.

96 – Fulham have attempted 96 shots in the league this season, which is the lowest in the division.

50 – If he plays, Mohamed Diame will make his 50th appearance in all competitions for the Hammers.

Head-to-Head (all competitions):

PlayedWonDrawnLostForAgainstGD +/-Win %

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