West Ham v Birmingham

04 February 2011 01:34
West Ham manager Avram Grant could keep faith with the side that beat Blackpool in midweek.Danny Gabbidon was substituted with an injury in that game but the extent of the problem is not yet known.

Birmingham have injury concerns over three players: Cameron Jerome and Barry Ferguson are nursing ankle problems and Roger Johnson has a calf injury.

New signing Curtis Davies is on standby to deputise for Johnson, but Obafemi Martins is a doubt as he awaits a visa.



West Ham

Doubtful: Da Costa (ankle), Gabbidon (unspecified)

Injured: Collison & Kurucz (both knee), Dyer & Hitzlsperger (both thigh), Stanislas (hernia)

Birmingham

Doubtful: Ferguson & Jerome (both ankle), Johnson (calf), Martins (visa)

Injured: Dann (hamstring), McFadden (knee), Valles (foot)



MATCH PREVIEW Embroiled in a League Cup final eliminator 11 days previously, West Ham and Birmingham meet again in the altogether less glamorous struggle against relegation.

It's important but we realise every single game to the end of the season will be important for us. The position we find ourselves in, there's no other way West Ham captain Scott Parker West Ham were 11 minutes from Wembley when they last faced Birmingham, which would have brought a second successive cup final for manager Avram Grant following his FA Cup success with Portsmouth.

However, a second consecutive relegation remains an unpalatable possibility for the Israeli. The Hammers begin this game in the bottom three, behind Birmingham on goal difference.

There were reports that Blues manager Alex McLeish would have lost his job had his side not won their League Cup semi-final tie. Instead, he looks certain to lead Birmingham out at their first major Wembley final for 55 years. What he needs now, though, is a league win after presiding over a run of eight points from nine games.



MATCH FACTS Head-to-head

• This is their fourth meeting of the season. They drew 2-2 in the league at Birmingham and each won one leg of the League Cup semi final.

• Birmingham have won one of their last eight Premier League meetings - 1-0 at St Andrew's in December 2009 when Lee Bowyer scored the only goal.

• West Ham's only home defeat in the last nine league games against Birmingham was by 2-1 in October 2002 (W6, D2, L1).

Have your say on this match West Ham

• They have yet to manage back-to-back league wins this season.

• Avram Grant's side have conceded 44 league goals, a tally only surpassed by West Brom (45).

• The Hammers have lost just one of their 13 matches against opponents in the bottom half of the table (W4, D8, L1).

• Matthew Upson played for Birmingham between 2003 and 2007.

Birmingham

• The Blues have only won one of their last nine league matches, and failed to keep a clean sheet in that time.

• They have the equal-fewest wins in the Premier League this season: four, the same as Wigan.

• Birmingham have only won three of the eight matches in which they scored first - the worst record in the division.

• They are looking for their 200th away victory in top-flight football.

• Loanee Matt Derbyshire could make his 100th English league appearance, while Cameron Jerome is poised for his 200th club career start.



LEADING GOALSCORERS

West Ham

Piquionne: 8 goals (6 league); Obinna: 8 goals (3 league)



Birmingham

Gardner: 7 goals (5 league); Zigic: 5 goals (3 league)



MATCH OFFICIALS Referee: Chris Foy

Assistant referees: Darren Cann & Andy Garratt

Fourth official: Mark Clattenburg



LAST LEAGUE MATCH LINE-UPS West Ham (W3-1 v Blackpool, a): Green; Jacobsen, Gabbidon (Reid 33), Tomkins, Bridge, O'Neil, Noble, Parker, Obinna (Boa Morte 83), Piquionne, Keane (Kovac 84). Subs not used: Boffin, Cole, Sears, Ba.

Birmingham (D2-2 v Man City, h): Foster; Carr, Johnson, Jiranek, Ridgewell, Bentley, Ferguson, Bowyer (Beausejour 75), Gardner, Jerome (Phillips 70), Zigic. Subs not used: Doyle, Larsson, Fahey, Hleb, Davies.

Source: BBC_Sport