West Ham United can make it three wins from three in their Europa League group with victory at Olympiacos this evening, but the spectre of off-pitch trouble looms over the occasion.
Tensions are high in Athens after Olympiacos’ league match with rivals Panathinaikos on Sunday had to be abandoned after an opposition player was hit by a firecracker.
Olympiacos have subsequently issued a warning to their supporters against throwing missiles and using laser pointers, which has become a big problem in Greek football.
Meanwhile, West Ham fans were banned from their last European outing in Freiburg due to missile throwing during the Europa Conference League final victory over Fiorentina in June.
West Ham manager David Moyes has called on fans to behave themselves: “They’ve got great support here, fantastic enthusiasm, and it’s fantastic to come to a football city where the football really matters.
“You want the passion and the atmosphere but we also want good behaviour from our supporters and Olympiacos supporters.
“It’s a big game, but it’s important that everyone works together and end up having a good night.
“I think all we want is a good football game. You have to support your team well. You’re not doing your club any favours if you’re getting stadium bans or your team is getting thrown out of Europe.
“You have to be well behaved and we want the supporters to be that.”
Winning your group is an important step in the Europa League, avoiding what is effectively a round-of-32 tie against a team dropping down from the Champions League. Group winners go straight through to the last-16, meaning a lighter workload in February.
Vladimir Coufal has not travelled due to a knock but fellow full-backs Ben Johnson and Aaron Cresswell are back in the squad after spells out. West Ham are looking to bounce back from a bruising 4-1 defeat at Aston Villa on Saturday.
Full team news on the way shortly.