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Stoke City (H) Fri 26 Dec 2014, 15:00, Barclays Premier League

Hitz Wants Happier Hammers Memories

by Matthew Gamble @efc_mattgamble

The last time Thomas Hitzlsperger played at Upton Park is was under the unpleasant haze of a freshly confirmed relegation.

He's hoping to experience significantly more positive emotions on Saturday afternoon.

Everton's German midfielder spent an injury hit 2010/11 season in East London as the Hammers finished bottom of the league, ending the campaign with a painful 3-0 home defeat to Sunderland.

But now in his third stint in English football with the high-flying Blues, Hitzlsperger is hoping to inflict further misery on West Ham.

He told evertontv: "I have got good memories, although when I first started there I was injured for a long time. I enjoyed playing for the Club, there are very good people there but unfortunately we got relegated.

Thomas Hitzlsperger

"There are still some players that I know from my time down there. They are good lads and I am glad for the team that the Club managed to get straight back into the Premier League."

Hitzlsperger's 13 appearances in the second half of the season yielded three goals but a woeful sequence of results meant Avram Grant's side slipped into the Championship.

Soon Sam Allardyce was installed as manager and he promptly returned West Ham to the top tier via the play-offs and they are currently occupying a comfortable mid-table position.

"The fans create some very good atmosphere. When I was there we didn't win many games but now they are back up in the Premier League the atmosphere is quite good," noted Hitzlsperger.

"But hopefully it will be very quiet on Saturday.

"We go there quite positive because we have not lost mangy games in 2012. We'll go there and try to win the game even though they are a good side.

"They aren't as direct as Stoke - there's no team like Stoke in this league. West Ham try to play more football but we will be prepared for a physical battle."

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