Andy Carroll prepares to line up for West Ham against former club Newcastle
Last Updated: 09/11/12 12:39pm
Andy Carroll: Returns to St James' Park on Sunday in a West Ham shirt
Newcastle welcome Sam Allardyce, Andy Carroll and Kevin Nolan back to Tyneside when West Ham are the visitors on Sunday.
The Magpies will be looking to put one over on these familiar faces as they can leapfrog the Hammers with a win at St James' Park.
Alan Pardew's side have every reason to be confident ahead of the clash, having been beaten just three times - by Manchester United (twice) and Chelsea - so far this season.
But Newcastle have endured the trickier build-up with a trip to Bruges in the Europa League on Thursday and will be without the suspended duo of Cheick Tiote and Fabricio Coloccini.
That will encourage Allardyce that there is hope of a win here and he'll be aiming to build on the positives from a steely display against Premier League champions Manchester City last time out.
West Ham earned a goalless draw on that occasion and the manager may feel a point would be a good result for a club that has won just three of their last 41 Premier League away games.
Whether Carroll and Nolan would be quite so happy to go goalless against their old club is another matter.
The Magpies must do without Cheick Tiote and skipper Fabricio Coloccini who are both serving suspensions for red cards.
James Perch is also out and Danny Simpson remains a doubt so Alan Pardew is short of options at the back.
But he will be able to call on Jonas Gutierrez, Demba Ba and Hatem Ben Arfa who were all rested for the trip to Bruges in midweek.
There are problems at the heart of the Hammers defence with James Collins and James Tomkins both facing late fitness tests to conform their availability.
If both are unfit then the visitors will be forced into a reshuffle with Winston Reid the only fit centre-back.
There is better news for right-back Guy Demel who has returned to training following a hernia problem but Jack Collison (knee), Matthew Taylor (calf) and Ricardo Vaz Te (shoulder) remain out.
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