Tony Cottee Column: Blackburn match one of biggest in West Ham’s history

““Defeat is unthinkable, while a win will probably lift us up the table and drag Blackburn Rovers into deep trouble”

Saturday’s game against Blackburn is one of the biggest games in West Ham’s history.

If you consider the financial implications for relegation this match is as big as they come.

Defeat is unthinkable, while a win will probably lift us up the table and drag Blackburn into deep trouble.

There is no doubt in my mind that 39 points will be enough to see us stay in the Premier League and six could even be enough.

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However, considering West Ham have won seven games all season, asking them to win two of their last three is a big ask.

I am not confident about our survival hopes.

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Co-owner David Sullivan said we have a ‘25-30 per cent chance’ of staying up and I would agree with that.

My heart tells me Blackpool, Wigan and Wolves will go down, but my head is telling me we are in big, big trouble.

There is no doubt the players will be extremely nervous this Saturday, but it is the type of game you need to stand up and be counted.

This Saturday is the time to show how good a player you are and it is the type of match every class footballer should revel in.

I remember scoring a vital goal against Chelsea for West Ham in 1988, which helped keep us up and also against West Ham for Everton in 1994. They are the moments as a footballer you will not forget.

We need to score goals, which is why our top goal scorer Carlton Cole should start the game. It’s not only goals, but he offers a focal point and is the only real target man West Ham have.

Blackburn are a big, strong side, who are good from set pieces, so it is vital we have protection from free kicks, an area we have struggled with all season.

Their record against us of late is poor though and although they beat Bolton at the weekend their recent form is terrible, with their previous win before that coming in January.

Steve Kean came in to replace the sacked Sam Allardyce, a ridiculous decision in my opinion, and it is a good job he registered some victories early on in his tenure or Rovers would be in massive trouble.

It’s a hard game to call, but whatever happens I am sure there are still plenty more twists and turns to come before the end of the season.

Tony Cottee was talking to Matt Diner

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