Wilkins says West Ham could benefit from London-based fixtures

Former Premier League manager Ray Wilkins says that London derbies have lost some of their importance - and that could benefit West Ham United.


Ray Wilkins has told Sky Sports News, broadcast on March 1 at 10.15am, that West Ham United could benefit from London derbies losing some of their importance.


Wilkins is no stranger to fixtures in England's capital city, with the 59-year-old having long-term associations with the likes of Chelsea and Queens Park Rangers, as well as spending time at Fulham and Millwall during his coaching career.


However, with the influx of foreign players over the past decade and matches involving two London-based teams becoming a regular occurrence in the top flight, he feels that the importance of the games is only fully appreciated by the supporters, rather than everyone involved in a first-team squad.


On Wednesday night, West Ham play the first of four London derbies that they have scheduled in the space of six weeks, but Wilkins has suggested that he expects the Hammers to continue picking up points in the Premier League.


Wilkins said: "London derbies have gone by the way side now. There aren't too many Londoners playing now. They have to play lots of teams in London, but it is easier for things like travel.

"It could be a bonus, because a lot of the players playing now don't get the drift that it is a derby. We used to tell foreign players that this was a derby and they didn't know what you were talking about.

"They wouldn't understand the importance of it. London teams play so many now but it's against a lot of foreign guys so I don't think it is quite so important. It is still important for the supporter but not so much the player."

After facing Spurs, West Ham make the trip to Everton before a run of three successive fixtures against teams in close proximity to them.

They travel to Stamford Bridge to face Chelsea during the middle of the month, before they host back-to-back games against Crystal Palace and Arsenal.

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