Aston Villa V West Ham at Villa Park - Match Preview
Updated Saturday, 9th February 2013
Aston Villa V West Ham at Villa Park - Match Preview.
Delph passed fit for Villa
Aston Villa midfielder Fabian Delph has recovered from an ankle injury after a two-game absence and is included in the squad for Sunday's home Barclays Premier League fixture with West Ham.
Fellow midfielder Karim El Ahmadi has also shaken off a knock to the knee sustained during the 3-3 draw at Everton last weekend.
Villa manager Paul Lambert will run a fitness check over a third midfielder in Ashley Westwood, who is currently suffering from illness, but hopes of a return for defender Richard Dunne have been dashed by a recurrence of his groin problem.
Lambert has warned his side they will need to win five or six of their remaining 13 matches to stave off the threat of relegation.
Villa are currently in 19th spot and have won only four league games this season.
Lambert has been encouraged by Villa's recent performances, including last weekend's 3-3 draw at Everton, but is aware of the need to start putting points on the board.
The Scot said: "Have I a points target in mind? I know how many games we need to win and that's the thing we have to go and do.
"If we keep doing the things we are doing, we will win more than we don't.
"I would say we need to win five or six games. It depends because you don't know what other teams are going to do, but I don't concern myself with other teams.
"You've got to focus on your own team. You've got no influence or control over other results."
West Ham manager Sam Allardyce has no fresh injury concerns.
Defensive duo James Collins (hamstring) and George McCartney (knee) are still out but all of the Hammers' internationals returned from midweek duty unscathed.
Modibo Maiga is back at the club following Mali's exit from the African Cup of Nations but is unlikely to feature.
West Ham have taken only eight points away from home this season and are the lowest away scorers in the division with just seven goals to their name.
It is something Allardyce is keen to rectify and believes scoring first in away matches is vital.
"Everyone knows the responsibility of turning around our away results, they must get better," he said.
"We have a fantastic opportunity to change the results we have had recently on Sunday given we had a big boost of confidence with a well-deserved win against Swansea last week.
"It is always a difficult task to win a game of football after going a goal down and it is obviously much more difficult when you're away from home.
"It is rare as a side playing in the Premier League for the first season to turn around a result after losing the first goal - we have to focus on the fact that we have to keep on a level playing field with Aston Villa and score the first goal if possible."
A third away win of the season could see West Ham return to the top half of the table by the end of the weekend with a potential gap of 12 points over the bottom three sides.