West Ham travel to Hartlepool for a Fourth Round FA Cup tie against League One side Hartlepool.
Currently sitting comfortably in mid table in League One, The Pool have already claimed one Premier League scalp in the competition so far this season, defeating Stoke 2-0 at Victoria Park in January.
Hartlepool have defeated Brighton and Fleetwood Town as well as Stoke so far in this season’s FA Cup to progress into the Fourth Round.
West Ham will be hoping to replicate recent impressive league form in the one domestic cup the Hammers are left in. Gianfranco Zola’s side have not lost in all competitions since losing 1-0 at home to Aston Villa in mid-December.
Hartlepool have never appeared in the fifth round of the cup, and West Ham will be willing to replicate the astonishing cup run seen three years ago when reaching the FA Cup final in 2006.
Gianfranco Zola on the match at Hartlepool:
‘Hartlepool are a good team and try to play football.
‘They have some very interesting players, some quick players and play quite differently from being a League One side. They try to play football and are a good team. We respect them.
‘It will be a hard game but for us the Cup is an important achievement so we want to get through this round.’
Hartlepool Team News:
Caretaker manager Chris Turner will be hoping three players can return for the cup clash. Matt Robson, Sam Collins and Antony Sweeney have been sidelined recently through injury.
David Foley and Liam Henderson could be pushing for a start should the mentioned players not return.
Player to watch: Michael Nelson
The 28-year-old Nelson’s recent shining performances for Hartlepool have reportedly attracted the interest of Leeds, Leicester and Swindon. Expect a resiliant defensive performance from the Pool.
West Ham Team News:
David di Michele looks set to continue up front for the Hammers in the absence of Craig Bellamy who recently joined Man City.
Kieron Dyer could again start from the bench for West Ham as Franco Zola has no fresh injury worries.
Player to watch: Carlton Cole
The in form striker has recently shrugged off suggestions that Fabio Capello is looking at handing him his first senior England appearance, claiming he is happy to concentrate on his form at West Ham.
Was earlier today linked with a move to Spurs, who reportedly want to offer Darren Bent in exchange.
It will be a tight match. As much as West Ham are expected to field a convincing team, who are on form, Hartlepool will be up for it. 2-1 to West Ham.
Wednesday, 28th January 2009, 20:00