Away Fans Views: West Ham United (A) ryanlufc August 18, 2011 Leeds United 6 Comments This week Ryan is joined by Daniel Blazer from Forever West Ham for a look ahead to this weekend’s Championship match which will be the first meeting of the two sides since 2005. It’s been a good few years since we last met, are you looking forward to Sunday’s game? Both sides had very impressive results midweek, so confidence will be high. John Carew is in line for his debut, which is an exciting prospect for us Hammers. I’m interested on whether Simon Grayson keeps the 4-4-2 formation that was successful against Hull City, or goes back to a 4-5-1. We’ve both been through similar circumstances in recent years with our respective relegations, financial difficulties and key players leaving, but this really should be a Premiership fixture, shouldn’t it? Most definitely, just over a decade ago we were an established top ten side and you guys were on the verge of European glory. With regards to now though, Big Sam has definitely built a Premiership side, especially in midfield, and Leeds have had several players linked to Premier League sides this summer, which just shows the standard of both sides. You’ve got off to a decent start with 2 wins out of 3 so far, is an instant return to The Premiership the main aim for West Ham this year and do think that’s achievable? It was important not to dwell on the surprising defeat to Cardiff, after dominating the game, and after our first back to back wins away from home since 2007, things are looking good. However it’s still very early days, despite managers, pundits and bookmakers making us favourites for the title. The standard of the Championship this season, is the strongest it’s ever been with the promoted sides Southampton and Brighton making impressive starts, and then you have the likes of Forest, Cardiff, Blackpool, Leicester, Reading and of course, Leeds to consider. Overall though I expect to see Premier League football back at Upton Park, but I don’t believe it will be as easy as many suggest. The signing of Kevin Nolan was obviously a massive coup, but what kind of impression has Sam Allardyce made at Upton Park so far? Big Sam has installed a positive mentality around the club, a self belief within the players, that was clearly lacking under Avram Grant’s management. Allardyce is popular amongst the fans, although there is still a few sceptics over the traditional Big Sam style of football, which is getting points via unattractive football, personally I don’t mind how we win, as long as it results in promotion. Overall though, I think we’ve got a manager who the fans and players would be very happy to see around for many years to come. Besides Nolan and the likes of Scott Parker and Carlton Cole who most people will be aware of, are there any players that Leeds fans may not be so familiar with who we should be keeping an eye out for on Sunday? James Tomkins is rated highly by staff and fans, and I think a solid season in the Championship could see him start entering a few of the senior England squads. Leeds apparently rejected a bid from West Ham for Max Gradel earlier in the summer, but which current Leeds player would you most like to see in a West Ham shirt? Gradel is an exciting player and I can’t say I wouldn’t love seeing him in a West Ham shirt, but if I could have another player I’d probably say Darren O’Dea. I know the defender is only on loan from Celtic but if Leeds could make that a permanent signing I feel it would be a very good bit of business. Against Hull the other night I felt O’Dea’s performance was solid and assured at the heart of the defence, which is a position I feel the Hammers could do with strengthening. Where do you expect Leeds to finish this season? If Leeds aren’t in and around the play off places, I will be very surprised. Finally, what’s your prediction for the game? I’ll say 1-1 draw. My heart says 3-1 West Ham but I think most fans will take a point. I’ll go for a very entertaining 2-2. Thanks for taking part & best of luck for the rest of the season. I hope you enjoy watching George McCartney as much as we did!