Crystal Palace boss Alan Pardew has described their clash with West Ham as “a top-of-the-table encounter”.
Palace are fourth after a phenomenal start to the season, while the Hammers are just one point behind in sixth place.
“It is a top-of-the-table encounter,” said Pardew, whose Palace side beat West Brom 2-0 in their last Premier League game.
“That is good for two teams who weren’t predicted to be there at this stage of the season. We’re coming off a good performance and West Ham will be aware of that. I am sure they will be looking to upset our rhythm and what we do really well.”
Pardew won promotion into the top flight during his time in charge of the Hammers and also took them to the FA Cup final in 2006 – losing on penalties to Liverpool.
Now he is happy in south London and he expects a tough test from Slaven Bilic’s men, who boast away wins at Arsenal, Man City and Liverpool so far this season.
“They’re very good on the counter,” said Pardew, whose side showed they are more than a counter-attacking machine against the Baggies, aided by the excellent Yohan Cabaye.
“I expect us to get a grasp of the game like we did against West Brom and dictate proceedings but that’s not going to stop West Ham from winning the game. We need to be organised in our possession otherwise they will counter us really quickly and we’ll find ourselves in the game.
“West Ham have a bigger and stronger squad than us. But if we can stay clear of injuries and keep this group together, we can compete with them and that’s what we’ve got to hope to do.”