Allardyce must release Cole to secure West Ham win over Hull
Four consecutive Premier League wins gave West Ham much needed breathing space in the battle for survival, though three defeats on the spin since have added extra importance to this midweek fixture at home to Hull.
The omens for the east Londoners aren’t half bad either, as West Ham have taken all three points from the Tigers’ last four league visits to Upton Park.
A rot-stopping victory, priced at 5/4, will not be easy to come by against a Hull side who arrive fresh from beating West Brom 2-0, though Steve Bruce’s team are definitely more comfortable at the KC Stadium.
The 12/5 outsiders have one of the worst overall away records in the top flight, losing nine of 14, while two of their three away wins arrived against teams from the bottom three.
One of Sam Allardyce’s best weapons for nicking the win – which would see the Hammers leapfrog 12th-place Hull and Aston Villa in 11th on goal difference – is striker Carlton Cole.
Although the resigned front man has slipped behind record signing Andy Carroll in the Irons’ centre-forward pecking order since the England man’s return to fitness, Allardyce should be aware that Cole’s record in this fixture is excellent.
Cole has bagged on all three of his last home appearances against the Humbersiders, which includes a match-winning brace en-route to Championship promotion during the 2011/12 campaign.
The former Chelsea striker may not start in this fixture, but at 15/8 is a great shout to score at anytime or better still to score the last goal of the match from off the bench at creamy odds of 6/1.
Four of Cole’s six Premier League strikes since his return to claret and blue this season have arrived in front of the Upton Park faithful as well.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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