Preview: West Ham v Cardiff - Nolan poised to lead from front

07 August 2011 12:32
Kevin Nolan captains West Ham on his competitive debut against Cardiff. Nolan will be joined in midfield by Matt Taylor while Joey O'Brien starts at right-back but their fourth summer signing, defender Abdoulaye Faye, has been struggling with a hamstring problem.

Goalkeeper Robert Green, midfielder Scott Parker and striker Carlton Cole, who have all been linked with moves back to the Premier League, are in line to start. Winger Julien Faubert's tight hamstring will be checked over and forward Junior Stanislas is fit after a groin problem. Midfielder Gary O'Neil has yet to recover from the ankle injury he suffered towards the end of last season and young full-back Jordan Brown is out for a month with ankle trouble.

A new-look Cardiff team will travel to promotion favourites West Ham on Sunday for their opening match of the 2011/12 Championship campaign. City are almost unrecognisable from the side who failed yet again in last season`s play-offs, most notably in the dugout where Dave Jones has been replaced by Malky Mackay and his new backroom team.

Out have gone Michael Chopra, Jay Bothroyd, Chris Burke and - for the time being at least - Craig Bellamy. Which means there could be debuts for any one of Mackay's nine summer signings, including striker Kenny Miller, midfielders Aron Gunnarsson, Craig Conway and Don Cowie as well as full-back Andrew Taylor. There is also likely to be a second bow for Robert Earnshaw, who played for Cardiff between 1997-2004, and a return for centre-back Anthony Gerrard after he spent last season on loan at Hull.

The only concerns for manager Mackay are midfielder Stephen McPhail and full-back Paul Quinn who are both working their way back to full strength having been hampered by a virus during pre-season.

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Source: DSG