If the melancholy surrounding West Ham’s current situation was measured on one of those huge thermometer signs used to show how well a fund-raising drive is going, the level on the one outside Upton Park would have been slowly increasing in the past few weeks.
But the barometer would have taken a massive leap towards the top end after the recent double-thumping the side received at the hands of Nottingham Forest and Manchester City in FA Cup and Capital One Cup respectively.
Those 5-0 and 6-0 reverses have come at the back end of a six-game run without a victory and, with their league position slipping perilously close to the bottom rung, the pressure is mounting on Sam Allardyce to turn things around.
It means the trip to Cardiff to face Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in his first Premier League match in charge of the Bluebirds is a make or break moment in Big Sam’s Irons career.
Win and the constant backing the former Bolton manager receives from Messrs Sullivan and Gold will look justified, but lose and the duo will be left with little choice but to relieve Allardyce of his duties.
That certainly seems to be the case as it has emerged that Nottingham Forest manager Billy Davies is the surprise name at the top of West Ham’s list of Big Sam replacements.
With the east London club currently the 11/8 third favourites to be relegated, Davies’ appointment would be an extremely curious move.
The Scot has spent the majority of his managerial career in the Championship with Preston, Derby and now Forest, and lasted just four months before feeling the axe the only time he experienced top-flight leadership with the Rams.
Things may not have to come to that though, with West Ham enjoying a prosperous recent record over Cardiff.
The Hammers, who are 3/1 to win the game, have won five straight meetings with Cardiff, all of which saw them lead at both half-time and full-time (available at 6/1 on this occasion) and score at least twice (17/2 on over 2.5 Hammers goals).
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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