West Ham United-Newcastle United Preview
LONDON (SE) - Newcastle United will welcome back a string of familiar faces when they host West Ham United at St James' Park on Sunday afternoon.
West Ham manager Sam Allardyce, skipper Kevin Nolan and on-loan striker Andy Carroll all have strong links with Newcastle, but Allardyce is hopeful that the home fans will give his two star players a positive reception on Sunday.
"It's important for Kevin and Andy to go and give a good performance," said Allardyce. "Those two players served Newcastle brilliantly before they left, they were two outstanding players for that club and they will obviously want to do well.
"I don't suppose either of them really wanted to leave. I don't know what they can expect from the Newcastle crowd. I don't really know. I suppose it's up to the Newcastle to decide whether they should appreciate what they did for Newcastle before they left."
Newcastle manager Alan Pardew saw a weakened team draw 2-2 in Bruges on Thursday to strengthen the club's chances of progressing in the Europa League, and Pardew suggested that it is the way that the club have spent the Carroll transfer money that has made them into the strong side they are today.
"The position we are in, if I'm honest, is because we used the money from Andy's sale well," said the Newcastle boss. "He was a brilliant player for us, but the fee was astronomical. We have used it well and we owe a great debt to him.
"It's nice to see Kevin (Nolan) come back too. He did a super job here. Whatever he was asked to do, he conducted himself well. And he gets a goal. He has proven that at any level, he will get a goal. I'm looking forward to seeing them both and I enjoyed working with them.
"There will be a lot on the game. Kevin will be determined to get a result, as will Andy and the manager coming back. Both of those players would be good additions to this squad, but players have to move on for the sake of the team. Kevin wanted a long contract we wouldn't commit to, but he got one at West Ham. He deserves it because he is a great player, but the board didn't think the long contract for Kevin was something he would get here."
Newcastle have doubts over Demba Ba (calf), Yohan Cabaye (hamstring), James Perch (thigh) and Dan Gosling (knee), while Ryan Taylor is out with a knee injury. West Ham's Ricardo Vaz Te is out until the new year with a dislocated shoulder, while James Collins (hamstring), James Tomkins (groin) and Jack Collison (knee) are unlikely to feature.
West Ham have won just eight times at St James' Park in their history, having made 61 visits. The Hammers' last win on Tyneside came back in October 1998. Since then they've lost four and drawn five of their nine matches at the ground. West Ham have scored just three goals away from home this season - a Premier League low. Newcastle have lost just two of 18 home matches in all competitions in 2012.