Aston Villa-West Ham United Preview

JEFF FLETCHER (STATS European Editor)
The Associated Press

West Ham boss Sam Allardyce believes his side are ready to improve on their poor home record this season ahead of Saturday's match against Aston Villa at Upton Park.

The Hammers lost their last three league matches in front of their own fans, but Allardyce is convinced they can start winning at home, so long as they become more clinical in front of goal.

"We have got to continue playing like we're playing. Certainly at Swansea, Tottenham away and the home games we've played, we have to remind ourselves how good we've been even though at home we haven't got much out of the game," Allardyce said. "We have the best defensive record away from home in the Premier League, so get back to that and make sure we come off with a clean sheet because I believe that we will score at home.

"We've got the worst chance conversion rate of anyone in the Premier League and that's the thing we've got to change. If we get the injured players fit and get a bigger squad to choose from, we'll get better as time goes on."

West Ham (2-3-4) are 15th in table with nine points from nine matches, two places and one point behind Saturday's visitors Aston Villa (3-1-5).

Villa lost their last two Premier League matches and collected just one point from a possible nine since beating Manchester City 3-2 at Villa Park towards the end of September, but manager Paul Lambert insists he is happy with the development of his squad.

"I'm pleased about the team and I'm pleased with the effort the players are putting in and what they're doing in the games," said Lambert. "We're only a year and a bit into building this team but our fundamental principles are already clear.

"We try to win games. We play with hunger and desire and we play with pride. As a team we keep learning and progressing and we know we're playing well enough to win. But no-one has a divine right to beat anyone. You have to earn it."

West Ham forward Ricardo Vaz Te faces a lengthy spell on the sidelines after dislocating his shoulder in last weekend's goalless draw against Swansea. Hammers midfielder Matthew Taylor has been ruled out of the Villa match due to a calf injury, while England striker Andy Carroll remains side-lined with a long-term foot injury.

Villa striker Gabby Agbonlahor (ankle) and full-back Antonio Luna (hamstring) both suffered injuries during the 2-0 home defeat against Everton last weekend and will be monitored by the club's medical staff ahead of the trip to Upton Park.

Both teams won at home last season. Kevin Nolan netted five minutes before half-time at Upton Park in the Hammers 1-0 home win over Villa. The Villains held 60% possession and outshot West Ham 12-10 in the loss. Villa got their revenge at Villa Park in February as Christian Benteke scored from the penalty spot and Charles N'Zogbia scored four minutes later to put Villa 2-0 up. Ashley Westwood scored an own goal to give the Hammers a late chance, but Villa held on to win 2-1.

Since 2000 West Ham have claimed just four league wins against Villa in 20 matches, with eight and eight defeats.