As they aim to end their run of four straight defeats, Newcastle travel to the capital later today to take on West Ham United, a side with their own considerable troubles.

The Hammers are lurking perilously close to the bottom three and the pressure is building on Sam Allardyce, who is no stranger to the sack when the going gets tough.

The former Bolton boss was bombed out of St James Park in 2008, something to make today’s game ever more intriguing. Andy Carroll also plies his trade at Upton Park, so the pair will be out to cause their former employers more heartache.

Alan Pardew is still without half of his first choice back four, as Mathieu Debuchy serves the final game of his three-match ban for a lunge at Claudio Yacob of West Brom. Fabricio Coloccini is injured and could be out for another fortnight at least.

That means Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa and Steven Taylor will continue in defence and be charged with stopping a strike force that has barely been firing all season. The Hammers are one of the lowest scorers in the league, having only netted 21 times – an average of one goal per game.

Jonas Gutierrez has joined Norwich City on loan for the rest of the season and will be in action for them this weekend, while the rest of the Newcastle squad remains fit and available.

That means a similar side to the one that has stuttered recently, with the only decision surrounding formation, as Pardew has to decide whether 4-4-2 or 4-3-3 is best.

Papiss Cisse could also get a recall as Loic Remy’s form goes through a low patch. The Senegal striker has scored Newcastle’s last two goals and could be coming back into form, although the offside rule still seems to be a serious problem.

West Ham have defensive issues, with James Tomkins suspended and Winston Reid and James Collins injured. Guy Demel suffered concussion at Cardiff last week and will miss out. That leaves Roger Johnson as one of the only senior centre-backs at the club, a defender who has been playing league 1 football with Wolves until recently.

Ravel Morrison is fit and available despite rumours regarding his future, while a big boost could come in the shape of Andy Carroll being fit to start. The former Newcastle man has missed nearly all season with injury but made his comeback in last week’s win over Cardiff.

Another former Magpie, Kevin Nolan, will miss out through suspension after picking up his second red card of the season.