RYAN Noble hopes to be given the chance to continue his Premier League education tomorrow at the club formerly known as the Academy of Football.
West Ham were dubbed the Academy in the 1960s – long before academies sprung up for talented youngsters – for the amount of talented young footballers who rolled off the conveyor belt.
And the 19-year-old Sunderland striker hopes to be the latest emerging star at Upton Park – albeit in the red and white rather than the claret and blue.
If Noble is given the nod, he hopes to be on the winning side for the first time in his fledgling top-flight career.
And though Sunderland’s form in recent weeks calls that into question, Noble is convinced the Wearsiders can do it.
“Yes, I think we can go there and finish the season with a win,” he said.
“Their heads will be down after being relegated and we just have to produce a performance and get a result.
“As well as going down, I’ve read that they have had a few disruptions, so hopefully they will still be distracted tomorrow.
“But, of course, we have to be careful because there is always the chance it will work out the other way and they will come out firing and determined to go down in a blaze of glory.
“It’s a bit of an unknown in that respect and it could go either way.
“But we want to win every game and we want to win tomorrow to make sure we finish as high as possible in the table.”
Noble also insists the game is far from a dead rubber – he wants to do his part to help the club climb a couple of places before the season finally ends.
“It’s not a case of going there with nothing to play for,” he said.
“We still have a chance of finishing in the top 10 if we win and other results go our way.
“So that’s a massive incentive for us, because finishing above Newcastle is another big motivation.
“If we finish above them, we will have the bragging rights as the North East’s best club and that’s what we have to target.”