John Carver is expecting no favours from Sam Allardyce as he attempts to keep Newcastle in the Barclays Premier League.
The latest man to be handed the managerial reins by owner Mike Ashley at St James’ Park will go head-to-head with the one he sacked in January 2008 with the Magpies in desperate need of a first victory in 11 attempts if they are to condemn Hull to the drop and survive.
Allardyce, who was appointed by former chairman Freddy Shepherd just days before Ashley launched his successful take-over in May 2007, was shown the door after only eight months at the helm.
There is little love lost between the club and a man who used his pay-off to buy a Costa Blanca holiday home which he named ‘Casa St James’’.
But Carver knows even if there were no history between the parties, professional pride would dictate that the Hammers would arrive on Tyneside looking for three points, regardless of the consequences for their hosts in terms of relegation.
The 50-year-old said: “No matter who it is — and I know Sam has been the manager here and Neil McDonald is at the club, who is a good friend of mine — you want to win games.
“No matter who you’re playing against, and even when people are saying there’s nothing at stake, you still want to win.
“Your pride tells you that. This weekend is going to be no different.
“But I’m not bothered about what he’s thinking or who is coming here. I’m just bothered about us, I really am.
The equation for Carver and his players is quite straightforward: win and they are safe regardless of what Hull do at home to Manchester United.
But that is something they have not managed since February 28, and anything less could prove fatal with the Tigers, who trail the Magpies by two points, enjoying a superior goal difference.
Carver could have midfielder Siem de Jong back at his disposal following his return to training after a thigh problem, but central defender Mike Williamson is definitely available once again after serving a two-match ban for his dismissal at Leicester.
The head coach, of course, suggested Williamson had deliberately collected the red card in the immediate aftermath of a damaging 3-0 defeat at the King Power Stadium, but he insists the rift his comments caused has healed.
Carver said: “I’ve shaken hands with Mike and that’s forgotten. I’m like that. I can fall out with someone one day and then be their best friend the next - look at Craig Bellamy a few years ago.
“That’s just the way I am. I don’t hold a grudge and that’s important. I’ll say what I have to say, as I did with Mike, but then I’ll clear the slate.”
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