Pards expecting tough clash against Toffees

Alan Pardew is expecting a closely-fought encounter between the Premiership's two form sides at Upton Park tomorrow.

Everton arrive at the Boleyn Ground having won four of their last six league matches - a run that is only bettered by Hammers, who are going for a sixth straight Premiership victory.

"Both ourselves and Everton are on a great run of form at the moment," says Pards. "They have been grinding out some very good results this year and have been extremely hard to beat.

"After a difficult start to the campaign, they have got back to where they were last season, and they will provide a very tough test for us tomorrow.

"They play that 4-5-1 formation with a midfield player breaking from deep, and it is a problem that you need to be able to cope with if you are going to come out on top against them.

"We won't change our style of play, though, especially given our recent home form, and I'm sure Everton will be aware of the problems that we will cause them."

Despite upsetting the odds by securing the fourth Champions League spot last season, Everton were unable to progress to the group stage of the competition after suffering a qualifying defeat against Villarreal but, with fourth place again up for grabs in the Premiership this year, Pards insists that every club in the top half of the table should be aiming to emulate their achievement.

"Everton have been established members of the Premiership for a long time now, and their pedigree always suggested they could reach the heights they reached last season," he says.

"They broke that barrier that we are all trying to get to, by pushing on to compete with the top clubs and finishing in a Champions League place.

"It was a shame for them that they didn't get through to the group stages at the start of the season - I know it was a huge blow for David Moyes - but they have got themselves back on track again now."