• by Staff Writer
  • Friday, 1st March 2024

David Moyes admitted he possesses "huge feelings" for former club Everton - but plans to send them spiralling back towards the relegation zone this weekend.

Having finally secured their first win of 2024 against Brentford on Monday evening, Moyes and his squad are looking forward to adding another victory in order to continue West Ham's fight for a fourth successive season in Europe.

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And even though Saturday's hosts are without a win themselves since mid-December, albeit four points better off than this time last weekend as a result of their successful appeal against an FFP penalty, the boss admits that a trip to Goodison Park - almost certainly the last for West Ham before Everton move into their new stadium - always presents a difficult test.

"It’s the football club that gave me brilliant opportunities," began Moyes, when asked about his impending return to Merseyside. "They gave me a start, and a chance to make mistakes. We grew the club, and hopefully people look back and say it was a good time.

"The biggest thing I took from my time at Everton was the players. We had brilliant players - if you look at our recruitment and what those players went on to do, it’s phenomenal. They were brilliant lads to work with, and I keep in touch with them all.

"It’s always nice to go back to Goodison. The supporters are close to the pitch, there’s brilliant backing there, and there’s always a great atmosphere. There's a great backing, and there are great people up there.

"I've got a decent record there, but I don't think you can really put that down to anything. We didn't have a great record against Brentford until Monday, so you have to just take each game as it comes.

"There’s stuff going on off the pitch that’s affecting them, but I couldn’t tell you much about it because it’s not something I’ve experienced," he continued.

"I think Sean Dyche is probably the right man to be managing Everton at the moment. I think there’ll be very few people who think he hasn’t done brilliantly. His teams are really competitive and they get results against some of the big sides."

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With regards to personnel, as revealed earlier today on KUMB Moyes has virtually a full squad to choose from once again following the recent return of Michail Antonio and Lucas Paqueta. Indeed, only Maxwel Cornet is definitely ruled out (hamstring).

And the manager admitted he was delighted to have the Brazilian playmaker, who earlier today was recalled to the national squad, back in his pool of available players.

"Lucas played really well against Brentford," he said. "I was a little bit concerned about him just coming back from injury and how he was going to be, but we were really pleased with him.

"We’re going into a really busy period now with Europe next week as well, so we need all our players on good form. The result against Brentford - and Lucas’ return - gave us a great boost.

"Mohammed Kudus is probably just about getting to grips with everything again now after the Africa Cup of Nations, and with Jarrod [Bowen] firing as well, I think we’re in a good place up at the top end of the field."

As for Bowen, Moyes believes he can become the first Hammer to reach a certain Premier League landmark since John Hartson all those years ago.

"Jarrod got himself in the right positions and did really well on Monday," he insisted. "I’ve not set him a target, but in my head I think if he can get to 20 goals it will be a great record for a centre forward at West Ham.

"Maybe I have set a target for him now!"

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