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Sunderland Ė make or break for Curbs?

Filed: Thursday, 18th October 2007
By: Dan Lee

Sundayís game against Sunderland could well be a pivotal point in Curbishlyís reign at Upton Park. After wiping away our opening day blues against Mr Erikssonís impressive Manchester City with away wins at Birmingham and Reading - plus the home victory against Middlesbrough - all of a sudden, things seemed to be looking pretty rosy for us Hammers.

Fast forward a month (and a few injuries) and a repeat of last season slowly creeps into my nightmares! Three consecutive defeats are simply not good enough from a club who apparently, according the Icelandic guys at the top 'want to be challenging for Champions League Football'. I know success doesnít happen overnight and Iím not saying it will. But the fact that the board clearly want this club to move on to that next level and compete with the big boys suggests that three defeats on the trot is not how to get there.

I donít want this to turn into a 'sack the manager' rant for the simple fact that we are only eight games into the season. After the Argie-bargie season last year mid-table is a major improvement, is it not?

Thatís why this weekendís match against Roy Keaneís prawn sandwich eating (sorry I just couldnít resist!) Sunderland is a must win game for Curbs. I feel this game could result in two possible options. Now before I reveal all, I am basing these options solely on the aims of our Ďambitiousí board.

If things go our way on Sunday, which I like to point out I think will, then I believe Curbs has done himself enough to stay in the Hammers hot-seat for at least a few more games. However, if we fail to beat Sunderland and lose then that would make it four defeats on the spin.

Thatís when the panic button may be pressed by Mr Gudmunsson and the Egg-man in the directorís box.

Facts and stats donít lie, and anything but a win against Sunderland could signal the end of Curbishlyís days at Upton Park. No points from a possible twelve is not the best of records and one which the board surely do not look upon fondly. In some ways though, I feel sorry for the guy (Curbishly), I mean every club at some point in the season loses a key player through injury. But what we have witnessed this season at the club, with regards to the injury front has just been crazy! And just to add salt to the wound the ĎDean Ashton comebackí lasted long, didnít it!

Despite having an injury room busier than most thereís no point dwelling on what may have been. Curbs has had the full backing of the board and has had time to bring in players he feels are up to the challenge of moving us on to that next level. Only time will tell if he will be successful.

Changing the subject quickly if I may, Iíd also like to give a quick mention to the International scene. It was pleasing to see young Mark Noble getting a couple of goals for the Under 21s, fingers crossed heís got a few more in his locker for this Sunday. As for the England/Russia game, donít even get me started! The one thing I will say though is Robinson Ďoutí and Green Ďiní! Steve McClaren take note.

Now back to this Sunderland game. I recently read that Curbishly said he was going to find it hard to find enough players to make up the squad. Last time I look we had squad of nearly 30 plus! They canít all be injured can they? If they are Iím looking forward to the line-up on Sunday!

With a tough trip to Fratton Park the following weekend the Sunderland game becomes even more important. Harry Redknapp has his Portsmouth side in great shape yet again and after a slow start to the season a couple of back to back wins has them back in the top five. A lot of teams fail to come away with anything from Fratton Park and I canít really see us being any different, especially if weíre winless in our four last league games.

Thatís why victory is a must against Sunderland; it could be the game that changes our season. All together now, "Iím forever blowing bubbles ..."

Please note that the opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, nor should be attributed to, KUMB.com.

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