- Aaron Cresswell says West Ham United fans can inspire the team to victory on Saturday
- Hammers host Crystal Palace in a local derby at London Stadium
- Fixture will see former manager Sam Allardyce return to east London for a second time
Aaron Cresswell says the Claret and Blue Army can play their part in making Sam Allardyce’s latest return to West Ham United an unhappy one.
Recently-appointed Big Sam brings his Crystal Palace team to London Stadium for the first time on Saturday, seeking his first victory as Eagles manager.
Cresswell was signed by Allardyce and won the Hammer of the Year award under him in 2015, but the left-back says there will be no room for sentiment and urged Hammers fans to make life as difficult as possible for his former boss.
When Allardyce returned with Sunderland last season, he suffered a 1-0 defeat at the Boleyn Ground, and the No3 says a similar result is achievable with the backing of another sell-out home crowd.
“Of course it makes a massive difference when the fans are right behind us, encouraging us and supporting us,” said the England international. “As players, a positive atmosphere makes it easier for us to relax and concentrate on the job, while it also makes it more difficult for the visiting team to do the same thing.
“We all know that results haven’t been going as well as we’d all have hoped as late, and I can fully appreciate and understand that it can be frustrating watching at times, but we all want the same thing at the end of the day.
“I remember when I sat in the crowd when I was out injured and it can be electric. That noise definitely gives the lads a lift and has helped them to win games.”
As players, a positive atmosphere makes it easier for us to relax and concentrate on the job, while it also makes it more difficult for the visiting team to do the same thing
Cresswell made a triumphant return from a knee injury in the 1-0 victory over Palace at Selhurst Park in October, when he assisted Manuel Lanzini’s winning goal before being controversially sent-off for two bookable offences.
That win lifted the Hammers out of the bottom three, and another success on Saturday could see Slaven Bilic’s side rise into the top half for the first time since August.
Palace, meanwhile, have won just once in their 12 subsequent Premier League matches to slip to 17th – a run which saw Big Sam replace Alan Pardew in the dugout just before Christmas.
“We’ve got another London derby against Crystal Palace on Saturday and it’s one we all badly want to win,” Cresswell observed. “They’re not going through a great time themselves at the minute and we need to exploit any weaknesses they have.
“We put in one of our best performances of the season at Palace and got the win we deserved, with the lads putting in a real shift after I got sent-off!
“You can be sure we will prepare properly for the game on Saturday and, with 50-odd thousand fans behind us, we’ll give it absolutely everything we’ve got to get the three points.”