Hitzlsperger ready for Villa

'Der Hammer' has great memories of his time at Villa

Hitzlsperger: Set to face his old club

Thomas Hitzlsperger is backing West Ham to secure three vital points against his former club Aston Villa.

The Germany international, who is nicknamed 'Der Hammer', is a likely starter against Villa at Upton Park on Saturday after Scott Parker was ruled out with an Achilles injury.

And Hitzlsperger knows the Hammers must secure victory against Gerard Houllier's side in the battle against the drop, with the Hammers up against Chelsea and Manchester City in their next two Premier League games.

Pressure

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He told the Daily Mirror: "For us, the manager (Avram Grant) will have done a good job if he leads us to safety.

"It would be a lot nicer to be meeting Villa if we were both higher up the table, but West Ham have been down near the bottom all season so we're used to the pressure now.

"We've got some tough games coming up, but the most important thing is we are out of the bottom three on the last day of the season.

"Villa deserved to beat us on the opening day - they were up for it and it wasn't our greatest performance - but they are not in a great state either now because their season has gone the other way and we need the points more than them.

"Apart from some of the backroom staff, Gabriel Agbonlahor is the only player I know from my time there.

"Since I left, the team has changed completely, there is a different manager and the club has a new owner."

Memories

Hitzlsperger, 28, who spent four years at Villa, admits he will not know what to do if he scores against his former club.

"I still have great memories of Villa because they looked after me, but I have not thought about whether I should celebrate if I score against my old club.

"Usually I'm quite spontaneous about these things, but if I was a West Ham fan I'd be disappointed if one of my team's players didn't look happy about scoring in an important match."

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