West Ham boss David Moyes knows the importance of his side’s crunch game with Nottingham Forest on Saturday.
The Hammers are in the bottom three after last weekend’s 2-0 defeat at Tottenham but victory over Forest would move them to within two points of their visitors in the table.
Moyes has not always had the home crowd on his side this season, but wants them to play a part in what could be a pivotal day in the relegation battle.
“It’s a really big game. All the games in the Premier League are big and there is still a lot to play, but things are getting bigger because there aren’t as many games to play as there were,” he said at his pre-match press conference.
“We need the crowd. I look at the crowd over the last two years and they’ve been brilliant. It’s 62,500…we have huge crowds coming to West Ham and that’s because they’ve seen good teams and top players at West Ham.
“Sometimes when it’s not going so well is when you really need the fans with you. I know they’ll be with us on Saturday.”
Moyes could hand a start to Danny Ings following his return from injury as a substitute at Spurs last week.
The striker was injured moments into his debut after his January move from Villa and Moyes wants him to fire the Hammers to safety.
“I think Danny Ings is getting fit now,” he said. “He got an injury in his first game after 30 seconds. If you look at our injuries this season, it’s quite incredible really. We’ve had injuries right from the start.
“Getting Danny fit now is really important to us and we want Danny to show us what he can do.
“Danny Ings’ reputation speaks for itself. He’s scored goals at every club he’s played for and I hope he can replicate that here. He’s getting closer to readiness now. He’s settling in. He’s here for a few years on his contract and we want to make sure he’s ready to play.”
Kurt Zouma and Maxwel Cornet have returned to training, with Lucas Paqueta also back involved after injury.
While the Hammers are in the thick of a relegation battle, their European adventure continues after they were drawn against Cypriot side AEK Larnaca in the last 16.
Moyes, whose side reached the Europa League semi-final last season, said: “When you get to the knock-out stages, any game will be difficult. Winning the group means we get the advantage of being at home in the second leg. It’s a fair trip to Cyprus but we’ll do our best to get through.
“We have to remember how successful these players have been. I’ve got to be honest, we’ve done pretty well in the games and we want to keep going.”