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Hammers enter the last chance saloon

It's win or bust for West Ham tonight as they visit Leicester City (kick-off 7.45pm), knowing that failure to secure victory will put paid to their slim hopes of pipping Southampton to the Championship's second automatic promotion spot.

The Hammers will move to within two points of the Saints if they win - and a four goal margin of victory at Leicester would see them match Southampton's goal difference.

A win for the Hammers at Leicester, who only have pride left to play for this season, means they still have a chance of finishing in second place going into their final game of the season.

Sam Allardyce's men complete their fixtures with the visit of Hull to East London on Saturday, while Southampton entertain relegated Coventry. Both games kick-off at 12.30pm.

A defeat or draw for the Hammers tonight and it's game over for West Ham, but victory means a win against Hull could be enough to jump into second - and if that happens, Nigel Adkins' side will face the agonising scenario of dropping out of the top two for the first time this season.

Wins for the Hammers tonight and on Saturday will see West Ham promoted if Southampton lose against Coventry - if they draw it would all go down to goal difference.

And, if the Hammers make up five goals on goal difference tonight and on Saturday and Southampton fail to beat Coventry, that would be enough to secure second spot for West Ham.

A four goal swing on goal difference could even be enough to see the Londoners pip the Saints to second spot on goals scored - Southampton have bagged 81 goals this season so far, compared to West Ham's 77 prior to tonight's game.

One possible scenario is that West Ham and Southampton finish with exactly the same goals for and against, if that situation materialises then Southampton will take second spot by virtue of a better record in their two league games against West Ham this season.

Leicester: Schmeichel, Peltier, Konchesky, Bamba, Morgan, King, Drinkwater, Wellens, Beckford, Marshall, Nugent. Subs: St Ledger, Dyer, Howard, Vassell, Waghorn.

West Ham: Green, Reid, Tomkins, Demel, Nolan, Collison, Taylor, Noble, O'Neil, Cole, Vaz Te. Subs: Faubert, Collins, Diop, Lansbury, Baldock.

By Mark Roach 

West Ham win at Leicester to keep automatic promotion dream alive


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