Tal Ben Haim maintains his West Ham team-mates can go to Stoke and get a result, despite the absence of both the Israeli defender and manager Avram Grant.
Both men have been given special dispensation by the Barclays Premier League club to sit out the game at the Britannia Stadium as they observe the Jewish holy day of Yom Kippur.
Grant – whose side have yet to get a point from four matches – will pick and prepare the side as usual, but will not be on the bench as he is required to participate in 25 hours of fasting and prayer over the course of Friday and Saturday.
There have been some suggestions the position of Grant – only appointed in the summer – is already under threat following the Irons’ terrible start.
However, co-owner David Gold maintains Grant is “safe” and has every confidence the team will soon start climbing the table.
Ben Haim agrees. He told WHUTV: “Of course we should be optimistic.
“I am sure that if we get one or two good results we can move forward.”
The defender, who played under Grant at both Chelsea and Portsmouth, continued: “We played well and created chances against Chelsea, but we suddenly found ourselves 2-0 down. That is football – we need to look forward and take the points in the next game.
“It will take time, but in football we need to take the points very quick.
“We hope that we can do it next week.”