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West Ham V Man Utd at Upton Park : Match Preview

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Updated 04 Jan 2013 17:31:34

West Ham V Man Utd at Upton Park : Match Preview

West Ham V Man Utd - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game live.


Cole could earn cup call

West Ham expect to have new signing Joe Cole available for the FA Cup third-round tie against Manchester United at Upton Park after his free transfer from Liverpool was confirmed today.

Captain Kevin Nolan and defender James Collins are back from a one-match suspension, but defender Joey O'Brien is a doubt with a hamstring problem.

Striker Andy Carroll (knee) and midfielder Mohamed Diame (hamstring) continue their rehabilitation.

Manchester United are expected to make several changes for the late-afternoon kick-off, but boss Sam Allardyce does not expect that to weaken the Premier League leaders at all.

He said: "We are not under the same pressure as we are in the Premier League that is for sure, but we have a responsibility because there will be a full house at West Ham tomorrow, live on TV so we have to put the best team out we have available.

"I am sure (United manager) Sir Alex (Ferguson) will make some changes, but it will not really make much of a difference because at the moment any changes he does make, they still keep winning.

"They are in top form, so it will be hugely difficult, but it is a fantastic one to be involved in and if we can create a bit of an upset it would be a great bonus to make it into the next round."

Sir Alex Ferguson has been drilling it home to his Manchester United players that it is time their nine-year FA Cup drought came to an end.

After winning the competition four times in 10 years after Ferguson finally ended his United trophy drought by beating Crystal Palace in 1990, the Red Devils have secured it just once since.

The 2004 win over Millwall has been followed by disappointing final defeats to Arsenal and Chelsea and two semi-final losses, the most recent against Manchester City in 2011.

Of the current squad, only Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes and Darren Fletcher have winners' medals, and Ferguson has told his players that statistic needs to change.

"The manager has made the point to us that we have not done too well in the last few years," defender Chris Smalling said. "We need to make sure we get back on track in the competition.

"The league is going well and we're into the Champions League knockout stages, so we want to do well in this as well."

Smalling, 23, was less than six months old when Ferguson secured the first silverware of his illustrious reign after United beating Palace in the 1990 final replay at Wembley.

Since then, the advent and continued success of both the Premier League and Champions League have downgraded the FA Cup's status within the English game.

Yet Smalling still views it as a special tournament and certainly one he would want on his CV.

"The FA Cup has always been a massive competition," he said. "You've got the situation where lower league teams have the chance to play some of the top sides. It can be a real adventure."



PA

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