West Ham's unbeaten three-match run in the Premier League has eased the pressure on Avram Grant after David Gold, the co-owner, said even if Wolverhampton Wanderers were not beaten on Saturday the manager's job was safe.
Mick McCarthy's team are bottom of the division, two points behind West Ham, who have 17 and have collected five from their past three outings, including last night's 1-1 draw at home against Everton.
If Wolves are defeated at Upton Park Grant's team could lift themselves out of the relegation zone for the first time this season. Gold said: "If we don't beat Wolves, then we start all over again. That's what we do for a living."
He denied this meant beginning with a new manager in place of Grant. "No, no I don't mean that. I mean you brush yourself down and you come again. But we're not even thinking that way. I am pleased with what we've done over Christmas. A great three points at Fulham [who were beaten 3-1 on Boxing Day]. That was the first time [under Gold and co-owner David Sullivan] as principals of the football club we've won away. Then, to get a point against Everton, who are a good side with quality players. They came up here fresh. They haven't played for eight days. We played two days ago. You could see it. Our players were falling like flies because they had given their all, they had given everything," said Gold, who was conscious that Grant was without 10 first-team players for Everton's visit.
Gold said if Wolves were beaten then West Ham could no longer be considered relegation contenders. "We know who are our competitors: Wolves, Fulham, Birmingham. I would say the bookies will have to redo their sums if we beat Wolves. If we win against Wolves you've got to say that's not the performance of a relegation side.
"To get two wins and two draws [over the holiday period], it's got to be done. It's easy to talk about but it still has to be done. We have to beat Wolves, and it will be a big six-pointer."
Gold revealed the club is targeting numerous players in the January transfer window. "I was speaking to David [Sullivan] and our people. We've got 15 irons in the fire, and I mean that literally. We're just concentrating on incomings, and if you get three you've done good," he said, before admitting there was still doubt regarding the signing of Steve Sidwell from Aston Villa, despite the midfielder taking a medical at the club last week.
"We're waiting for a number of issues to be resolved. That's not a done deal," he said. "There's a lot of secret stuff going on. We're trying to outwit our competitors. We know we're after a player who is the same type of player one of our competitors is looking for, and we want to keep that as quiet as we can and complete the deal."
Gold insisted that Frédéric Piquionne would not be leaving for Aston Villa despite the striker saying he would be open to a move. "He's not for sale. This club is fighting for its life. It's got to change what it's been doing. For 30 years it's been selling its best players. That's got to stop," Gold added.
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