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Fan Focus - “We love shipping goals, so fill your boots” says Hammers fan Stuart Plant of Iron Views

Sunderland are desperate for goals, never mind wins, so Rory is asking Iron Views writer Stuart Plant where The Lads might get some joy when they take on The Hammers. They also discussed whether or not Bilic deserves to be under pressure, if their owners need to keep off Twitter and if he thinks Defoe will end up back in East London.

West Ham United v Sunderland - Premier League Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images

RF: A huge win last weekend against Swansea seems to have relieved the pressure on Slaven Bilic. Do you think he deserved to be under such a huge amount of scrutiny to start with though? Were West Ham's shortcomings this season completely his fault?

SP: Yes and no. It's not all of his fault, the board need to take some of the flak for the poor Summer/January transfer windows. The players, who were very good last year, need to their share of the blame as well. Bilic needs to take responsibility for struggling to find his best XI, tactics, and perhaps being a bit too honest in the media.

RF: I've read some criticism of Sullivan & Gold about how they're a bit too outspoken and that adds to the pressure on the manager. Is that fair? Do they need to cut down on their tweets and let the manager get on with things?

SP: Yeah, if anything it's still not picked up on enough. How many professional Premier League clubs have the teenage son of the owner tweeting out secret transfer news? None. Why? It's not professional.

They also need to cut it out just because more often than not, what they say in the press ends up being used against them. E.g. "We want to spend £30 million on a striker this Summer” and then end up bringing in Jonathan Calleri.

RF: A few of the national media outlets have linked you to Lamine Kone this week and Jermain Defoe was on the clubs radar in January. Can you see either player being a one that West Ham pursue in the summer?

SP: I'd love Jermain Defoe back here. I've been privy to knowing he'd always like to have come back for some years if the opportunity arose and I think we missed a massive trick in paying you whatever you wanted in January. Instead, we kept upping our offer with added bonuses such as mini cheddars and swiss rolls.

The Kone link I can't see having much in it. We've got more than enough central defenders - Reid, Ogbonna, Fonte, Collins, Burke and Oxford.

RF: Sunderland haven't scored a goal in seven games, highlighting just how bad we are, so we're desperate for positives at the moment. Can you point out any West Ham weaknesses that give us reason to believe?

SP: Luckily for you, we like shipping goals in this season, so fill your boots. Specifically, Defoe. It'll be interesting to see how he celebrates if he does score actually.

Otherwise, we're pretty poor at finishing off our chances too.

RF: On the flip side, who is the danger man for The Hammers going into this game? Anyone in a good run of form?

SP: I don't think we have a danger man. Manuel Lanzini just for his individual brilliance? He's had to be rushed into replacing Payet earlier than anticipated but he's shown glimpses of being able to do so with ease given time.

Otherwise it would have been Michail Antonio but luckily for you he's done his hamstring in. So hopefully that win at Swansea has seen us safe, as without him, we're really poor.

RF: How do you think Bilic will approach this one and what do you think his starting XI will be?

SP: We need to win this. In my mind I struggle to see where our next win would come from for the rest of the season as our players continue to drop like flies.

I think we're going to have a slightly changed XI from Swansea. I expect us to line up as; Randolph. Byram, Fonte, Collins, Masuaku. Snodgrass, Fernandes, Kouyate, Lanzini. Ayew and one from; Carroll/Sakho/Calleri/any striker whose fit enough to start!

RF: Finally, can we have a score prediction please?

SP: I don't think either of us have more than one goal in us. 1-1.


You can check out Iron Views on their website and follow Stu on Twitter.