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Ranieri runs rule over the Irons

Fulham boss Claudio Ranieri has warned his team that the Hammers have many game changers in their squad and predicts a tough match for his seriously threatened relegation strugglers.

Speaking at his pre-match presser he said of the Irons: “It’s difficult because they have very good players, they are very calm. If I remember well, they are on 33 points, and they are safe.

“They started with difficulties which is normal when you change your manager, and also because at the beginning they played big teams.

“When the matches were normal they started to play well and win. They have so many good players who can change the game and we must concentrate during all the match.

But he made it clear his players were ready saying: “We know it’s a difficult moment for us but we must be positive and do everything we can to change the table. It’s a very tough match but I think it will be tough also for West Ham.

“We have to fight. Every match is important for us as we fight to survive and I hope we can show a very good performance and, at the end, get points.”

Fulham’s January signings Lazar Markovic and former Iron Havard Nordtveit are in contention to make their debuts with both players having been short of fitness when they joined the club two weeks ago.

Loanee Timothy Fosu-Mensah is once again available, having missed out against parent club Manchester United, so the injured Alfie Mawson is Fulham’s only expected absentee.

ClaretandHugh says: It looks straightforward but life is never like that is it? Without a win on the road and buried down on 19th place, eight points from the nearest position of safety, the Cottagers look there for the taking. But the south west London outfit have played a lot of good football at times this season and threatened us time and again in the first match at Craven Cottage before we took a couple of chances with terrific aplomb. At this stage of the season games against teams in this sort of position can produce very odd results but despite all of that I expect the Hammers to win for the first time in four games. I’m going for a 3-0  and I hope – for all that his behaviour has seen him fall out of favour with the fans – Arnautovic shows he is still up for it and ready to give it his all until the end of the season at least.

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About Hugh5outhon1895

Hugh Southon is a lifelong Iron and the founding editor of ClaretandHugh. He is a national newspaper journalist of many years experience and was Bobby Moore's 'ghost' writer during the great man's lifetime. He describes ClaretandHugh as "the Hammers daily newspaper!" Follow on Twitter @hughsouthon