Unsy Backing Blues
Fans' favourite expects Everton to win battle of his former clubs.
David Unsworth says he is pleased his former club West Ham United have got their season back on track – but hopes their fine run of form comes to a shuddering halt this weekend.
On New Year’s Day, the Hammers were slumped in 19th position in the Barclays Premier League, just one point away from propping up the table.
Their plight continued to worsen when they were comprehensively thrashed 5-0 at Nottingham Forest and 9-0 on aggregate against Manchester City in the domestic cup competitions.
Since then, a haul of 16 points from eight games – including four successive victories in February – has catapulted them away from danger and into mid-table.
But Unsworth, who spent a season at Upton Park in 1997/98, is convinced West Ham’s sequence of encouraging results will come to an end at Goodison Park – a venue they have not won at on their last seven visits.
The Under-21s assistant coach told evertonfc.com: “I absolutely loved my year there. It’s a smashing football club with passionate fans. It’s a club with great tradition and I’m glad to see them doing well again. They are always backed well on the road, so I’m sure their fans will be there in their numbers on Saturday.
“When a team is in form and possesses the quality they do, it makes for a tough game. At the same time, I fully expect us to continue our good home performances and it should be a very good, entertaining game. I’m sure we can get the better of them.
“Kevin Nolan has scored goals wherever he has been and they have good pace down the wings with Matt Jarvis, who is a player I have watched a lot and can be a match-winner on his day. Andy Carroll [back from a three-game suspension] poses a threat, so hopefully Sylvain and Jags will be on top form.”
During West Ham’s period of poor form, speculation surrounded Sam Allardyce and his future as manager.
But the Upton Park board stood by the former Bolton Wanderers, Newcastle United and Blackburn Rovers chief.
Unsworth continued: “They are flying at the moment and from a coach’s point of view it’s great to see Sam Allardyce come out of the difficult period he was in four to six weeks ago.
“People were calling for Sam’s head and, as per usual, people were over-reacting. It’s great to see a manager and a coach come through a sticky spell and get the better of his doubters.
“They lost five, six, seven of their first-team players, and I don’t care what team you are, if you lose that quality over a period, results will fluctuate and you are bound to perform below the level you were.
“We have this over-reacting culture at present and it’s great to see a club stick by a manager and come out of a difficult period.”
Tickets for this Saturday’s meeting with the Hammers at Goodison are still available. Click here to book online or call 0871 663 1878. Alternatively, visit the Goodison Park Box Office or Everton Two/TicketQuarter in the city centre.