Split loyalties for Spence

Jordan Spence will have split loyalties when West Ham United take on Bristol City at Ashton Gate on Tuesday evening.

The Hammers defender has been on loan with the Robins for the entire 2011/12 season, making eleven appearances to add to the eleven he made during a previous spell at the same club at the end of the previous campaign.

Bristol City welcome the Hammers to the south west in desperate need of victory. Derek McInnes' side go into the fixture four points above the relegation zone, while West Ham of course need three points of their own as they continue their quest for automatic promotion.

"There is a lot to play for for both sides," confirmed the 21-year-old. "Sometimes at this time of the season, teams can come up against opponents who have nothing to play for, but there is a lot riding on this game for both Bristol City and West Ham."

While Bristol City's lowly position of 21st may suggest that the Hammers will be in for an easy ride at Ashton Gate, the Robins are unbeaten in five league games and have scored impressive victories over relegation rivals Nottingham Forest and Coventry City.

"In the previous three matches, we have picked up points. On Saturday, we got a good point at Birmingham City after being in the lead, so we have hit some form at the right time and results have certainly picked up compared to a few weeks back."

One West Ham player Spence and his Bristol City team-mates know better than anyone is Nicky Maynard, who swapped Ashton Gate for the Boleyn Ground at the end of the January transfer window.

Striker Maynard netted 46 goals in 131 games for the Robins and, since joining the Hammers, has scored in important away victories at Blackpool and Barnsley.

"It will be a strange one for Nicky, having been here earlier in the season and now coming back with West Ham," said Spence, who remains close friends with the No8. "It will be good to see him again on a personal basis and it will be interesting for everybody to see how it goes for him on the night."

Spence will be at Ashton Gate on Tuesday, but having featured just once in the first team since October, he is likely to be given a watching brief against his parent club.

"It has been a frustrating period of time for me, but like anything that's football. I am still fighting fit and looking forward to the opportunity to play again, wherever that may be."

*West Ham United have sold their full allocation of 1,800 tickets for Tuesday's fixture. Supporters can follow a live text commentary from Ashton Gate on whufc.com from 6pm.