West Ham United boss David Moyes has fired a warning to midtable sides like Everton and Crystal Palace over the season resumption.
West Ham are 16th as the restart looms large next week.
But the Hammers are only outside the relegation zone on goal difference.
Fight for survival set to go down to the wire
The battle for survival is widely considered to involve West Ham and the rest of the teams in the bottom six.
Although many believe it is a case of two teams from five to join marooned Norwich in the Championship next season.
With nine games to go it is all to play for and West Ham realistically need at least three -possibly four – wins to stay up.
The relegation battle will undoubtedly go down to the wire.
But the situation is very different for a clutch of clubs in the middle of the table.
Moyes fires warning to the likes of Everton and Palace
The likes of Everton, Burnley and Crystal Palace can consider themselves safe.
But realistically they won’t be able to make a European place.
Even Newcastle and Southampton should be all but home and dried.
And Moyes has admitted he is concerned the likes of old club Everton, Palace, Burnley and the other clubs in the midtable mix could jeopordise West Ham’s survival chances and the integrity of an already hugely disrupted season (The Evening Standard).
Moyes hopes teams will ‘go about their business in the correct way’
“I have concerns about those things (midtable clubs with little motivation and nothing to play for),” Moyes told The Evening Standard.
“I think the word integrity will come more and more into play over the next eight weeks.
“Even having the ability to use more substitutes in games means it’s not the same rules as when the season began. I just hope that everyone will go about their business in the correct way.”
Moyes might be on slightly dodgy ground calling into question the integrity of managers like anti-diving campaigner Sean Dyche, serial winner Carlo Ancelotti and honest veteran former England boss Roy Hodgson.
The last thing West Ham need during the run-in is any enemies.
West Ham do have a major advantage in the relegation battle, on paper at least.
Sky Sports has analysed the run-ins for each club and the Hammers have the easiest remaining fixtures.
And pundit Paul Merson has told The Daily Star he believes the relegation battle could widen to involve as many as 11 teams.