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Rupert Wyman 17th Sep 2010 - 19:50

Delap's boys could throw West Ham into crisis

Avram Grant received the dreaded vote of confidence from the West Ham board this week after the club's worst start to a Premier League season, losing their first four games.

David Gold backed his manager this week saying "It's four games against clubs who we took two points off last term so we're just behind. This will be called a vote of confidence but I assure you it is a proper vote of confidence. Against one of the world's best, Chelsea, we saw a spirited performance which we can build on. Avram is safe. We will very quickly climb up."

Despite the backing a defeat at Stoke in this one would heap more pressure on the beleaguered boss.  William Hill isn't convinced by the public show of support making Grant 5/2 favourite to be next Premier League manager to leave.

Grant will be absent for the game as he observes the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur but he is sure to have his team well prepared in a bid to stop the bad start turning into a crisis for the London club.

In the match betting Stoke are 4/5 to follow up their comeback win against Aston Villa and get another three points. West Ham are 7/2 with a draw at 5/2.

Stoke showed great fight in their last home game coming from a goal down to beat Aston Villa with a Kenwyne Jones equaliser followed up by Robert Huth winner late into injury time.

Tony Pulis' intervention at half-time was key to Stoke's comeback according to assistant manager Dave Kemp. The Potters boss missed the first half after travelling to Wales following the death of his mother earlier in the day.

That win will give the home side confidence after a poor start to push on and they should be good enough to get the win in this one.

If you fancy Kenwyne Jones to score again he is 5/1 to net first and 5/4 to score at anytime during the game. Eidur Gudjohnsen is being made to wait for his first start for the club, Pulis may be tempted to give him his full debut here, he is 13/2 to score first.

Robert Huth is always a threat from corners and the Hammers have conceded four headed goals this season, more than any other team in the top flight. You can get 7/1 for him to score anytime.

I fancy Stoke to win this by the odd goal so the handicap draw on the Stoke (-1) market at 13/5 provides good value.  Stoke won this fixture 2-1 last season and I think it could be the same score again at 15/2.

The clubs have played eight Premier League games between them this season and six of those games have seen over 2.5 goals making the 21/20 for over 2.5 seem a very good bet.

The game kicks off at 12:45 on Saturday and is live on Sky Sports 2


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