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McDonald prepared for battle

West Ham assistant manager Neil McDonald is braced for a tough encounter against Stoke at the Britannia Stadium on Saturday.

Last Updated: 02/03/13 at 14:34 Post Comment

Neil McDonald: West Ham assistant manager ready for Stoke test

Neil McDonald: West Ham assistant manager ready for Stoke test

The Hammers, who lost on Monday night to a last-gasp Gareth Bale strike in the 3-2 defeat by Tottenham, are looking to bounce back from that disappointment.

But Sam Allardyce's men have just eight points from 13 away games all season and have lost their last five on the road in the Premier League.

And McDonald, who assumed pre-match media duties in the absence of Allardyce, knows the visitors will have to be switched on throughout the game.

"It's a stern test," said McDonald. "I think they're very well organised. They're quite direct with the way they play, into the forwards, then knocking it down and getting it wide.

"We have to deal with crosses, we have to deal with knock-downs as well. Hopefully with our game and our game plan we can give them a little bit of a test as well.

"We're looking forward to the game and we're trying to put right what we haven't done over the last four or five away games."

Stoke have one win in five matches and McDonald hopes the Hammers can extend the hosts' poor run, having pushed high-flying Tottenham close on Monday night only for Gareth Bale to score twice to seal a 3-2 victory for his side at Upton Park.

McDonald added: "You always have to take something positive. Apart from Gareth Bale on Monday scoring two goals we've acquitted ourselves really well against a top-four team.

"If we do that away from home, we've got every chance of getting a result."

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I

think all those names linked to United exits make sense. Kagawa has never really looked like hitting the form he had at Dortmund and Fellaini is radioactive after last season (even though I think he's been unfairly singled out for criticism). Nani and Anderson have had more than their fair share of chances so they are done, and Hernandez deserves better than warming a bench.

ted, manchester
The Insecure Gossip

H

e'll be off to Spurs (or better) in January and I don't blame him. Looking forward to re-signing Grant Holt as his replacement though.

notalentjones
Benteke ignoring speculation

I

n fairness, he does look absolutely shattered in that photo.....

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Shaw told to shape up

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