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Soccer-West Ham ready for difficult test against Palace - Bilic
October 15, 2015 / 10:54 AM / 2 years ago

Soccer-West Ham ready for difficult test against Palace - Bilic

Oct 15 (Reuters) - With away wins already at Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester City this season, West Ham United look to add London rivals Crystal Palace to their list of victims on Saturday with manager Slaven Bilic expecting a “difficult test”.

The free-scoring Hammers are unbeaten on the road in the Premier League and the only points they have dropped on their travels were in the 2-2 draw at Sunderland on Oct. 3.

West Ham are sixth in the table after eight games and have scored a joint-leading 17 goals so far, the same as table-toppers Manchester City and Leicester City.

Palace have also started the campaign impressively and are fourth with five wins, only two of which were at home.

Bilic has praised his counterpart Alan Pardew for reviving Palace’s fortunes and has singled out Yohan Cabaye as a threat.

“We’re looking forward to the game. It will be a difficult test for us,” Bilic said at his pre-match press conference.

“Palace are a good team -- good in defending and great on counter-attacks. Every one of their attackers runs behind without the ball.”

“Big credit to him (Pardew), because he’s doing a great job. Add to that Cabaye, who can do special things. He’s a top class playmaker,” he added.

Bilic also praised his in-form midfielder Dimitri Payet, who has earned race reviews since his arrival.

The France international has been involved in seven goals from eight games for West Ham so far.

“I think teams have given Payet attention already. Maybe he was unknown to some of the fans, but everybody involved in football knew Dimitri before he came to West Ham,” Bilic said.

”He plays in a position where you have to close that space, whoever plays there. I have no worries that there will be extra attention on him.

“You can’t stop them most of the time and that’s why they are good players,” the former Croatia manager added.

Bilic also confirmed Enner Valencia and Angelo Ogbonna have recovered from their long-term injuries and are available for selection, along with Andy Carroll.

The 47-year-old Croat also said that defenders Winston Reid and Aaron Creswell are doubts for Saturday’s game and midfielder Alex Song is at least three weeks away from full fitness. (Reporting by Shravanth Vijayakumar in Bengaluru; editing by Martyn Herman)

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