Magpie links spur on Hammers
Published 17/01/2014 | 13:42
West Ham's Newcastle connections will inspire them in search of a win at the Magpies' expense on Saturday, according to assistant manager Neil McDonald.
McDonald played for hometown club Newcastle at the start of his career whilst West Ham record signing Andy Carroll, who has returned to fitness in time to feature in the weekend's Barclays Premier League clash, also began his footballing life at St James' Park.
Hammers' boss Sam Allardyce had an eight-month spell in charge of Newcastle before being sacked in January 2008 and McDonald admits it is always nice to perform well against former employers.
"If you played for a football club and you are then playing against them you want to get one over on them, don't you?" he said.
"I'm 48 now and I played for them in the 80s but I always want to get one over on Newcastle.
"It is Andy's hometown club of course but at the end of the day we have got another 10 players who will be involved in the game, will be wanting to beat Newcastle and everyone will be doing their best to do that."
After last weekend's 2-0 win at Cardiff lifted West Ham out of the relegation zone, another three points against Newcastle would represent the first back-to-back league wins for Allardyce's side since they returned to the top flight.
Newcastle travel to Upton Park having lost their last four fixtures in all competitions and, although McDonald is targeting victory, he is adamant West Ham will not underestimate Alan Pardew's side.
"They've had a couple of bad results, but having said all of that they're still in the top half of the league," he said.
"They're still a very, very good team who've got some exciting, dangerous players. We've done our homework on them, we've got a game plan for them, we know their strengths and weaknesses and we have to exploit those weaknesses.
"It goes without saying that it would be six points out of two games and that's certainly what we're trying to do."
Midfielder Mark Noble is once again expected to captain the Hammers with regular skipper, and another ex-Newcastle man, Kevin Nolan serving the last of a four-game ban.
The 26-year-old Noble scored the second goal at Cardiff and believes everyone at the club is pulling together to make sure they survive in the Premier League.
"At Cardiff, you could see from the way the lads worked, and with Kevin and James Collins travelling with us, that we're all together," he told the club's official website.
"The whole squad was happy for each other and that's what you need when you're in the position that we're in. It was nice to get back on the scoresheet. I enjoy getting forward but obviously the position I play in means those opportunities are quite rare."
The returning Carroll, who played his first minutes of the season after appearing as a late substitute, set up the decisive goal and Noble is delighted to have the England striker back in action.
"You could see in the pictures of the celebration that Andy was buzzing," he added.
"It was like he was holding a little boy - he just held me up with one arm and put the other arm in the air. It was a nice picture and nice for him to come back, set up a goal and be involved in a win. Hopefully we can have many more of them."