West Ham welcome Fulham to Upton Park on Sunday hoping to defend an unbeaten run dating back to Boxing Day 2008.
The Cottagers are the only club in the Premier League, along with Stoke City, to not have won away yet this season. West Ham will be chasing a fourth consecutive win over Fulham. Roy Hodgson’s side have only won one of the past 12 meetings between the two sides in the top flight.
Fulham are nine matches unbeaten in the Premier League, though their past four away matches have ended in a 0-0 draw. The Cottagers have held Liverpool, Stoke, Aston Villa and Spurs to goal less draws in their recent travels.
Gianfranco Zola on the match against Fulham:
I love London derbies. It is one of those games where you don’t need any extra motivation to play and I’m sure the players are committed.
‘Fulham have conceded very few goals away from home and are organised, but we are on a good run which we hope to continue.
‘Even when we were losing we were playing well and in the last few weeks we have added the results as well.’
Quotes courtesy of BBC Sport
Hammers Team News:
Kieron Dyer could start from the bench having been left out of the travelling squad to Newcastle because of a lack of match fitness.
Franco Zola has no other recent injury news. The reception for Craig Bellamy could be divided from fans having apparently made noises recently about wanting to join Spurs.
West Ham:West Ham (from): Green, Neill, Collins, Upson, Ilunga, Behrami, Parker, Noble, Collison, Cole, Di Michele, Stech, Faubert, Tristan, Tomkins, Mullins, Dyer, Bellamy, Boa Morte.
Player to watch: Craig Bellamy
This match could well be the last for West Ham’s well travelled Welshman who is in demand from a couple of rival Premier League teams. Should he look in form, this may suggest he wants to stay. Any other below par display may suggest otherwise.
Fulham Team News:
Ex-Hammer Jimmy Bullard is ruled out having recently been sidelined with illness and a troublesome hip problem.
Other former Irons Bobby Zamora and John Pantsil return to West Ham for the first time since leaving in the summer for Craven Cottage.
Fulham: Schwarzer, Konchesky, Pantsil, Baird, Hughes, Murphy, Dempsey, Davies, Gera, Zamora, Johnson, Zuberbuhler, Nevland, Gray, Etuhu, Stoor, Andreasen, Kallio, Hangeland.
Player to watch: Andy Johnson
The England striker scored a brace in Fulham’s last match against Sheffield Wednesday in the FA Cup at Hillsborough at the start of January.
Match Facts & Stats
West Ham triumphed 2-1 over Fulham in the reverse fixture earlier this season at Craven Cottage, Carlton Cole and Matthew Etherington netting for the Hammers.
West Ham recorded the double over the Cottagers last season, in the same fixture a year ago the Hammers came from a goal behind to win 2-1 – Dean Ashton and Anton Ferdinand the scorers.
Phil Dowd (Staffordshire)
I predict a bore score draw. 1-1.
Saturday, 24th January 2009, 12:40
FA Cup Fourth Round