English Premiership

Hammers hoping to bounce back against Everton

2015-11-05 18:34
Slaven Bilic (Getty Images)

London - West Ham United manager Slaven Bilic is hoping his team can bounce back at Upton Park on Saturday against Everton, the only other English side he played for apart from the Hammers.

The Croatian, who suffered his first Premier League away defeat against Watford at the weekend, made 32 appearances for Everton between 1997 and 2000 and is looking forward to the clash with relish.

"Everton is...special because I played there and enjoyed it there. I played for two clubs here, so it is special, yes," Bilic told reporters at his pre-match news conference on Thursday.

"They are full of confidence, but so are we because we are a team who are playing well and will be at home."

The Hammers are sixth in the table thanks to a string of upsets against the likes of Arsenal, Liverpool, Manchester City and Chelsea, and Bilic's Everton counterpart Roberto Martinez has backed them to be challenging for a place in Europe come the end of the season.

Everton go into the game on the back of an impressive 6-2 win over Sunderland, but will be looking for consistency. Martinez's men are ninth after 11 games and are yet to register back-to-back league wins.

"We see West Ham as one of the best teams of the campaign in the early months. They have surprised teams," Martinez said.

"Look at the points they have already, it's clear they are going to be ... challenging in the top five."

West Ham will be without the services of striker Diafra Sakho who has been ruled out with a thigh injury, but defender Winston Reid is back in the squad after recovering from a knee injury that has kept him out for more than a month.

Everton left-back Bryan Oviedo is out with a hamstring injury, and although Leighton Baines, Muhamed Besic and Tom Cleverley have returned to first-team training, none of them will be rushed back into action, Martinez said.

The Spaniard also dismissed speculation that midfielder Kevin Mirallas is unhappy at not getting enough playing time and seeking to leave the club in January.

"It couldn't be further from the truth ... it's important for us that Kevin is fresher now going into the second half of the season," Martinez said.


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