ALAN Pardew sees West Ham as one of Newcastle United’s rivals for a top-10 Premier League finish next season.
The two teams take each other on at St James’s Park tomorrow (kick-off 3pm).
Sam Allardyce has signed former Newcastle striker Andy Carroll and ex-Middlesbrough winger Stewart Downing this summer.
And the club opened their campaign with a 2-0 win over Cardiff City last weekend.
Sam Allardyce’s side finished 10th (five points ahead of Newcastle) last season and Pardew - who had a spell in charge at Upton Park earlier in his managerial career - sees the club as competing the same “bracket” this term.
“Sam’s an experienced manager - there’s no danger of West Ham going down,” Pardew told SportMail. “They’ve got good players.
“You like to think they’re in the same bracket as us. So it’s a big game for us. A big three points in that little group I think we’re in.”
Former Newcastle captain Kevin Nolan - who scored the only goal of the game at St James’s Park last season - netted against Cardiff.
And Pardew is understandably wary of the midfielder, whose goals helped promote both clubs.
“Kev looks fit and well,” added Pardew. “I watched a video of them last week.”