Friday, 21 September 2007

Get Curbs

It's a three hour train ride from London's King Cross to Newcastle's 'craphole', but it's 3,000 light years from home...

Craig Bellamy, Lee Bowyer, Nolberto Solano and Scott Parker will have extra reason for wanting a place in West Ham United's squad against Newcastle United at St James' Park on Sunday. The quartet, along with injured Kieron Dyer, have all swapped black and white for claret and blue in recent times and would love nothing more than helping West Ham to take another three points in what has been a tremendous start to the new campaign. Bellamy, 28, made 93 league appearances for Newcastle, scoring 27 goals between June 2001 and 2005, while Bowyer struck six goals in 79 league outings in three seasons from July 2003.

Solano and Parker are both yet to make their West Ham debuts with the former only arriving just before the transfer window shut and the latter just back to fitness after a pre-season knee injury. Former club captain Parker was involved in 55 fixtures, with four goals, after moving to the north east in June 2005. Solano had two spells at Newcastle, with a total of 230 league appearances, and 37 goals. "I am looking forward to going back to Newcastle, if I have the opportunity to play," said Solano. "I will be professional because I am a West Ham United player now. Hopefully our good form can continue because the team is trying to finish well. It's going to be strange. If I am in the squad it will be my first game with the team and it will be against my old team. I have to take it in a professional way and I have nothing whatsoever against Newcastle. I have a fantastic relationship with the fans, a great relationship with the people there. Football is like that, you never know when that will happen. I'm a West Ham United player and I'm looking forward to doing my best here."

Alan Curbishley is especially hopeful his Welsh striker will be fit to make the trip to Tyneside. Bellamy has been suffering with a tight groin in recent weeks and had to come off in the first half of the Hammers' 3-0 win over Middlesbrough. "The problem, as we understand it, is that he has been wearing orthotics in his boot to correct discomfort he's felt in certain areas," explained Curbishley. "It has cleared up the problem he had, but created another. We thought it might be a hernia but it's just that the mouldings have put more pressure on certain parts of his body that before. It's just something we'll have to work through. In pre-season he, Scott Parker and Julien Faubert set the tone for our training. He trains like a Trojan and he expects everyone else to do the same." It was also revealed that Anton Ferdinand and Danny Gabbidon are back in training and in contention for a place in the squad after suffering a respective knee injury and illness.

Despite conflicting reports concerning his fitness, England striker Michael Owen is included in the Newcastle squad for Sunday's clash after overcoming a groin problem. The 27-year-old is included, and could once again line up alongside Mark Viduka, who has recovered from a hamstring strain. Joey Barton (fractured metatarsal) and Emre (knee) are back in training but not yet available, and Jose Enrique is yet to gain full match fitness, while Peter Ramage (knee), Damien Duff (ankle), Stephen Carr and Celestine Babayaro (both hamstring) are still out.

Finally, for all those travelling up for the game this weekend here is a little something to set you on your way.

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