Pards hoping for repeat performance at Everton

Alan Pardew will be hoping for a classic case of déjà vu when West Ham United visit Everton on Sunday afternoon searching for their first away win of the campaign.

It's almost a year to the day since the Hammers boss took his newly-promoted side to Goodison Park - and watched them produce arguably their best away performance of the season to secure a magnificent 2-1 victory. A repeat display would certainly be welcome.

"Everton will be a tough place to go, but we probably put our best performance of the season there last year," says Pards.

"The Everton crowd are a knowledgeable lot and, if I remember rightly, they stayed behind to clap us off the pitch, which was a signal of how we played that night. I hope we can take that confidence there again.

"We've picked up nicely of late and while the victories have all been at home, as a team we've really been showing the signs that we can get the results we need to progress further up the table.

"Results turn the corner for you and we need to take what we have achieved of late into each game as it comes up, starting at Everton.

"It is a game that both teams will be desperate to win and we've got to make sure it is us who come out on top. It won't be as physical as the Sheffield United match, but it will be no less demanding. Last season our stats were very high in the mileage you need to have if you are going to be successful at places like Everton.

"This year, our defensive record is pretty much the same - we just need to score more goals, and it's an area we have been working very hard on."

With influential defender Danny Gabbidon sidelined with a hamstring injury, James Collins could make a timely return following his recovery from a groin injury - another ironic link to last season's trip to the blue half of Merseyside.

"It was similar thing that happened this time last year," says Pards. "We had a bit of tricky run and Gabbs got an injury. James came in for that match at Everton and had one of his best performances.

"However, George McCartney has also come on in recent games and showed he can do a job, so I have a choice to make."

Looking ahead to a busy month of December, Pards says: "I think Graham Taylor once said this stage of the season is the tunnel part of the campaign, and that is about right.

"The finishing line is, to a certain extent, still a long way off and at this time of the year you have a lot of things going on - FA Cup coming up, some European games finishing, it's Christmas - and there's a danger of losing what you are about.

"We are not going to do that. The next period of games coming up are very important for us and we need to pick up points.

"All I want is for the players to be able to focus on the fact we are here to win games and that's what we are trying to do."

by Laura Burkin