The plucky kids favourite has seen off Eminem - now everybody, promise you won't laugh if he upsets the odds and beats Westlife to the coveted top slot...

BOB THE BUILDER has sent bookmakers hearts fluttering by outselling WESTLIFE in the early stages of the battle to become Christmas Number One.

‘Can We Fix It?’ sold 66,903 copies up to and including the end of sales yesterday (December 18), while Westlife’s ‘What Makes A Man’ sold 64,851.

If these initial sales predictions are representative of the rest of the week’s sales, Bob The Builder will just outsell Westlife and reach the top spot this coming Sunday (December 24).

However, according to a chart expert at HMV in London, these figures may be misleading. He said: “Bob The Builder’s sales also incorporate last Sunday (December 17), which will have slightly inflated the figures. We still expect Westlife to edge it at the end, but what this goes to show is that marketing rules don’t apply with Bob The Builder.”

He also cited the fact that the Westlife single is available on two CD formats, which will boost sales further.

Even if it is not the Christmas Number One, ‘Can We Fix It?’ looks likely to become the largest selling single of the year. If it continues to sell at its current rate, it may marginally outsell current best seller, All Saints’ ‘Pure Shores’, and shift in the region of 700,000. All Saints can’t sell any more copies, as their single is deleted.

Elsewhere in the midweek chart, Eminem’s ‘Stan’ is at Number Three, Oxide & Neutrino’s ‘No Good 4 Me’ resides at Number Six and the Sugababes’ single ‘New Year’ is at Number 13.

Click here for the full UK Singles Chart published the second they’re out at 7pm UK time every Sunday. NME.COM is the only website in the world to have the full top 100 UK Singles Chart.