Room for One Up Front
With Cole suspended and Zamora and Bellamy both out until at least mid-January it looks like West Ham's poor goal scoring record could continue at Boro. Ashton and Boa Morte will presumably play up front. The only other option seems to be Camara who has looked out of his depth in his very limited appearances.
At the moment Ashton still looks short of match fitness. He has received a fair bit of criticism for Saturday's performance but he was up against one of the better defences in the league. Middlesbrough are a different proposition. Despite being managed by Southgate and having both Woodgate and Huth in their side they have let in 28 goals in the league this season.
With Parker looking more and more commanding with each game and with our better away form we may actually get the ball in the back of the net this weekend. Curbishley should also have the services of Etherington and Bowyer, who are our top goal scorers in the league this season.
It is vital that West Ham pick up some points in the next two games against Boro and Reading. The five games after that include Arsenal, Man Utd, Liverpool and Man City away. If we don't get some points in the next two games we might be looking at a very different league position by the end of January.