West Ham v Man City preview

27 February 2009 11:43
Craig Bellamy returns to Upton Park for the first time since making his winter transfer window switch as Manchester City try to improve their woeful away record against West Ham.

The Welsh marksman, whose brace on Thursday ensured that City are the last English team left in the Uefa Cup, will be bidding to make it a hat-trick of goals against his former employers.

The 29-year-old striker has scored three times in the league, including two against former teams Newcastle and Liverpool.

Bellamy might be well-travelled, but his side have been anything but this term - just one win away from Eastlands has been achieved in the league.

Mark Hughes admitted his side have been well below-par away from home on certain occasions this season, but after the impressive draw at Anfield last Sunday, the City boss will be hoping his side can build from that.

The signs look ominous for the Hammers, who have lost in the league to Bolton last Saturday and then coupled that defeat with another reverse midweek as they were dumped out of the FA Cup in a replay with Middlesbrough.

After a purple patch which saw Carlton Cole score five goals in as many games, the striker's goals have dried up and so have the points - with Gianfranco Zola's side's last win coming against promoted side Hull when they won 2-0 on January 28th.

Team newsMidfielder Nigel de Jong, who starred in last weekend's draw with Liverpool, is available again for City after being ineligible to play in the midweek victory over FC Copenhagen.

England winger Shaun Wright-Phillips is sidelined through suspension while Gelson Fernandes remains doubtful with a hamstring strain.

West Ham will be without midfielder Mark Noble for Sunday's visit of Manchester City, as he serves a one-match suspension.

Hammers skipper Lucas Neill made his return from injury in the midweek defeat to Boro and should continue at right-back at Johnathan Spector's expense.

James Tomkins is again expected to deputise for James Collins, who was stretched off against Bolton, while Jack Collison and David Di Michelle should return to the starting line-up after slipping to the bench on Wednesday.

Radoslav Kovac made his debut midweek and the Czech is likely to retain his place following Noble's absence.

Possible starting XI's: West Ham: Green, Illunga, Tomkins, Upson, Neill, Behrami, Kovac, Parker, Collison, Di Michele, Cole.

Man City: Given, Richards, Dunne, Kompany, Bridge, Zabaleta, Elano, Ireland, De Jong, Robinho, Bellamy.

Source: SKY_Sports