West Ham v Birmingham

10 January 2011 01:35
West Ham manager Avram Grant will reshuffle his pack having made eight changes for Saturday's FA Cup third round win over Barnsley.Scott Parker, Matthew Upson, Carlton Cole and Frederic Piquionne are among those expected to return. [LNB]Birmingham boss Alex McLeish rested seven first-teamers for Blues' win at Millwall and is likely to once again make sweeping changes. [LNB]Matt Derbyshire could be in contention following his brace at the New Den. [LNB][LNB] MATCH PREVIEW Major honours have been a rare commodity for both these clubs, but they meet on Tuesday hoping to reawaken memories of happier times following bitterly disappointing starts to the season.[LNB] When I saw the faces of the fans after beating Manchester United it was great. A semi-final is good but a final is better West Ham boss Avram Grant It's 31 years since West Ham United's last significant piece of silverware, the 1980 FA Cup triumph over Arsenal in the days of Brooking and Bonds. Avram Grant is the latest manager charged with bringing the good times back to Upton Park, but his six-month tenure in East London has been nothing short of a disaster. [LNB]The club are rooted to the bottom of the Premier League table with Grant's grip on the managerial reins seemingly hanging by a thread. The Israeli survived a reported three-match ultimatum at Christmas, but last week's 5-0 humiliation at Newcastle appears to have pushed the beleaguered boss to the brink and speculation is rife that his six-month tenure in East London will be brought to a swift end should the Hammers fail to progress in this competition. [LNB]Birmingham too, have endured a season of frustration having struggled to build on last season's ninth-place Premier League finish. Goals remain manager Alex McLeish's primary concern, with £6m striker Nikola Zigic proving an expensive flop and last season's top scorer Cameron Jerome to struggling to replicate that form. [LNB]The Midlands club have a fond relationship with this competition, and their 1963 League Cup triumph over fierce rivals Aston Villa remains their only major honour. The closest they have come to silverware since was in 2001, when Trevor Francis's Blues side suffered penalty heartbreak against Liverpool in what was then known as the Worthington Cup. [LNB][LNB] MATCH FACTS Head-to-head[LNB]• West Ham have lost only one of their last eight games against Birmingham, winning four of those matches. [LNB]• Blues have not won at Upton Park since a 2-1 victory in October 2002. Stern John scored both Blues goals that day. [LNB][LNB] Have your say on the game West Ham[LNB]• The 1966 and 1981 runners-up are making an eighth appearance in the semi-finals, and their first since 1989/90. [LNB]• They lost five of their previous seven semi-final ties: 1964, 1967, 1972, 1989 and 1990. [LNB]• Their overall semi-final record is P16 W6 D2 L8 (including two replays in 1972). [LNB]• Their record at Upton Park in League Cup semi-finals is mixed: W3, D1, L3. Their two appearances in the final both came after victories in the home leg of their semi-final. [LNB]Birmingham[LNB]• Birmingham's 1963 League Cup triumph is the only major trophy in the club's history. [LNB]• The closest they have come to winning more silverware ended in disappointment when a Liverpool side managed by Gerard Houllier beat the Blues on penalties in 2001. [LNB]• They are playing in the semi-finals for the fifth time, and their first in 10 years since finishing runners-up in 2001. [LNB]• Their two semi-final losses were in 1967 and 1996. Their overall semi-final record is W2, D1, L5. [LNB]• They have never won a semi-final away leg in this competition, losing three in a row since managing a draw at Bury in 1963. [LNB]• Their last League Cup semi-final match was a 4-1 home victory over Ipswich in 2001, which ended a run of five successive defeats at this stage of the competition. [LNB][LNB] LEADING GOALSCORERS [LNB]West Ham[LNB]Piquionne: 7 goals (1 in League Cup); Parker: 6 goals (2 in League Cup) [LNB][LNB]Birmingham[LNB]Gardner: 5 goals (1 in League Cup); Jerome: 4 goals (0 in League Cup); Zigic: 4 goals (2 in League Cup) [LNB][LNB] MATCH OFFICIALS Referee: Phil Dowd [LNB]Assistant referees: Darren Cann & Simon Long [LNB]Fourth official: Mike Jones

Source: BBC_Sport