Everton prepare for visit to happy hunting ground

October proved to be a largely forgettable month for Everton.

Derby stalemate may have helped to put the final nail in Brendan Rodgers’ coffin, while progress to the quarter-finals of the League Cup was secured, but a return of one point from a possible nine on offer is the lowest tally of the three completed months to date and saw early progress curtailed somewhat.

November has, however, opened with a bang. Indeed, there are few results like a 6-2 victory on home soil to put a smile on the face and a spring in the step.

There is also the promise of more to come, with the schedule through to the end of the calendar year looking – on paper at least – rather favourable, given the hurdles which have already been negotiated.

Next up is a trip to West Ham United, and there is every reason to believe that momentum can be maintained in the capital.

For all of the praise that Slaven Bilic’s side have been lavished with this season, they have been far from infallible on home soil and victory for Everton on Saturday could lift them to within a point of the Hammers – a side being billed as one of this season’s success stories.

History suggests that another positive step towards the top four can be taken this weekend, with Upton Park having proved to be a happy hunting ground down the years.

Of the 19 trips to have been made to east London during the Premier League era, 10 have delivered maximum points, five a share of the spoils and only four no reward of any kind.

Breaking things down a little further, Everton have left the Boleyn Ground as victors on their last three visits, and in six of the last seven – with only two points dropped in that time.

In fact, you have to go back to April 2007 to find the last time the Toffees came unstuck in that part of the world, while they have never been beaten by more than one goal at the home of the Hammers, suggesting that their point haul could have been even healthier with a greater rub of the green.

It is also intriguing to note that there has only been one 0-0 draw between the two sides since 1992/93 – at Goodison Park in March 2003 – so goals should be expected, while a first clean sheet since mid-September would be most welcome.

Another productive away day to be enjoyed on Saturday is at the time of writing priced at around 9/5, with the draw 23/10, and you can place your bets by text with Paddy Power Messenger if you see more points heading in the direction of Martinez’s men.

Bilic will have his troops fired up for a first meeting with his former employers since his summer return to English football, but having made a habit of bursting bubbles at the Boleyn, there is every reason for those making the trip this weekend to head south in optimistic mood.

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