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Another black day for the Irons?

PUBLISHED: 16:23 13 March 2008 | UPDATED: 13:07 05 October 2010

ALAN CURBISHLEY received the dreaded vote of confidence from the West Ham board, as his side head into Saturday s must win clash with Blackburn Rovers. Countless managers have fallen victim to this smokescreen and Curbishley will be all too aware of that.

ALAN CURBISHLEY received the dreaded vote of confidence from the West Ham board, as his side head

into Saturday's must win clash with Blackburn Rovers.

Countless managers have fallen victim to this smokescreen and Curbishley will be all too aware of that.

The board's public backing means sweet FA in the cut and thrust of the Premier League.

After three consecutive 4-0 defeats the Irons need to bounce back against the Lancashire club, but it's not going to be easy.

Mark Hughes' men are chasing Europe and they've only lost once in their previous eight Premier League outings, which was against title-chasing Arsenal.

Hughes has moulded a side brimming with creative flair and physical presence that is capable of mixing it with the big boys.

Rovers' strength lies in their ability to stretch teams with the attacking talents of their wide men - Morten Gamst Pedersen deployed on the left and David Bentley on the right.

Beyond their rear gunners Blackburn have a powerful arsenal. In Benni McCarthy and Matt Derbyshire they have pace and mobility and in Roque Santa Cruz and Jason Roberts they have the power and brawn to out muscle Premier League defences.

If the league table was based on home games, West Ham would be 13th and only four points off the relegation zone.

Alarmingly for the Hammers, Rovers have the seventh best away record in the division. They've only lost one of their last six matches on the road.

Sections of Hammers supporters have already turned on Curbishley, chanting abusive songs about his perceived lack of tactical acumen.

If the Upton Park faithful get behind the team and the manager on Saturday Blackburn will find it tough - just ask the likes of Manchester United and Liverpool who have lost in east London this season.

If they don't and grow impatient the players may crumble under the pressure, resulting in be a fourth straight defeat for the Hammers and a nervy time for Curbishley.

Advertiser prediction:

West Ham 1 Blackburn 2

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