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Nolan ban to cost West Ham nine points, two cup runs and a boss

| 03.01.2014

Sam Allardyce’s precarious position as Upton Park supremo has been providing ever growing amounts of grist to the rumour mill in recent weeks, so he’ll be all the more upset to have lost his most trusted lieutenant to suspension at a vital time.

Nolan has been an integral part of the Hammers side for three seasons under Allardyce, missing a mere nine league games across three seasons at the Boleyn Ground.

While the Liverpool-born midfielder hasn’t been able to lead his side free of relegation shackles this term, his absence will still increase the belief of West Ham’s FA Cup rivals Nottingham Forest.

The Tricky Trees are 13/10 favourites to kill the Premier League giants at the City Ground and pile further pressure on their beleaguered gaffer.

After all, as their de-facto number 10 the 31-year-old is one of the Hammers’ most creative players, leading his club for league assists with four.

Having notched twice in the Premier League he’s also their second top scorer.

With young creative Ravel Morrison on a mysterious hiatus from the first team, this leaves Allardyce with precious little craft in the middle of the Park.

West Ham have lost six of their 10 away games so far this term and Nolan’s absence through suspension coincides with a four game run which could have disastrously demoralising effects for his club and his manager.

Trips to the City Ground and Manchester City could well see their cup competition challenge KO’d with a one-two punch before Cardiff rock up.

The trip to the Welsh capital in the first of two league games Nolan will miss represents a genuine relegation six-pointer and one that the Bluebirds are 29/20 favourites to win.

With only seven road goals authored all season long, the absence of one of their most creative players effectively limits the Irons’ aspirations to a point.

By then his manager may long since have departed the club.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Thomas Reynolds