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West Ham manager Sam Allardyce must choose whether to lead the line with captain Kevin Nolan or bring out-and-out striker Carlton Cole into the starting XI when his side host Fulham on Saturday.

Allardyce is likely to stick with former Bolton and Newcastle man Nolan, in Andy Carroll’s continued absence.

George McCartney and Alou Diarra are both expected to miss out, with Ricardo Vaz Te and Razvan Rat not ready either.

Meanwhile, Fulham central defender Brede Hangeland could return from a sciatic nerve injury to boost struggling Fulham against West Ham.

Fulham manager Martin Jol will make a late decision on the fitness of striker Dimitar Berbatov who arrived at training not feeling well.

Striker Hugo Rodallega is recovering from a muscle injury and defender Matthew Briggs is making good progress after his hernia operation.

Right-back Sascha Riether is still out suspended.

Without a home league win since the opening day victory over Cardiff and booed off after last weekend’s 3-0 defeat to Chelsea, West Ham desperately need three points to halt a worrying slump.

So too, though, do Fulham who will head to Upton Park on the back of four successive league defeats and with the position of Jol, under growing scrutiny following the recent appointment of Rene Meulensteen as head coach.

Stat of the game: West Ham have 10 points, their second lowest total after 12 games in 18 Premier League seasons. In 2010 they had eight and went down..

West Ham (Possible, 4-2-31): Jaaskelainen; Demel, Collins, Tomkins, O’Brien; Collison, Noble; J Cole, Morrison, Downing; Noble.
Out: McCartney, Diarra (both knee), Carroll (heel), Petric (thigh), Vaz Te (shoulder), Rat (hamstring), Reid (ankle).

Fulham (Possible, 4-4-1-1): Stekelenburg; Zverotic, Hangeland, Amorebieta, Richardson; Ruiz, Parker, Boateng, Kasami; Berbatov; Bent.
Out: Riether (suspended), Briggs (hernia), Rodallega (groin).
Tests: Hangeland (back), Berbatov (illness).

Referee: Martin Atkinson. Matches: 7, R0 Y17.

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