Irvine: We want to extend our unbeaten run on Saturday


Alan Irvine says West Ham United want to maintain their winning feeling when they welcome AFC Bournemouth to London Stadium on Saturday.

The Hammers have lost just two of their last eleven matches in all competitions, with the most-recent victory being a 1-0 Emirates FA Cup third-round replay win over Shrewsbury Town on Tuesday evening.

Another game in that recent run came at the Vitality Stadium on Boxing Day, when the Cherries snatched a dramatic 3-3 draw through Callum Wilson’s controversial late equaliser.

Manager’s assistant Irvine hopes the Hammers can go one better in the return fixture, when they tackle opponents who they could yet also face in the FA Cup fourth round later this month, should Eddie Howe’s team overcome Wigan Athletic on Wednesday night.

Our run of form has been very good for a number of games now

Alan Irvine

“It’s always good to win and keep that momentum going,” confirmed Irvine. “Our run of form has been very good for a number of games now and we’re unbeaten in six matches.

“We’re delighted with that, but we still feel there is plenty of scope for improvement. We’re in a better place than we were when we first came in and it’s vitally important we continue to build on that.

“Bournemouth have got a strong squad. Everybody thinks ‘little Bournemouth’ but they’re a very well-run club and a club who have built a very good squad over the years and they play a lot of very attractive football.

“We’ll have a very difficult game at the weekend and a very difficult game in the next round of the Cup, if they get through.”


Josh Cullen and Reece Burke celebrate with Mark Noble


Two players who will be eager to feature again this weekend are Tuesday’s matchwinner Reece Burke and fellow Academy graduate Josh Cullen, who both impressed in the two FA Cup ties with Shrewsbury.

Irvine confirmed the decision on whether the pair stay with West Ham or return to loan club Bolton Wanderers will now rest with manager David Moyes.

“I think, overall, they can be very pleased with how they did. Reece Burke, in particular, must be absolutely delighted to have got the goal that got us through.

“They can all take a lot of positives from the game and also all realise they have got a lot of things to learn, but they’re young players, so that’s to be expected.

“Reece and Josh Cullen certainly didn’t do themselves any harm. I actually spoke to them when they both came back and told them the worse-case scenario was that they go back to Bolton, but the best is that they play really well, stay here and their Premier League careers start to take off.

“They’ve given David decisions to make with the way that they have performed when they have come in.”

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