All the early team news ahead of the FA Cup third round tie against Barnsley
at the Boleyn Ground
FA Cup Third Round
West Ham United v Barnsley
Saturday 3 January
Referee: Michael Oliver
WHUTV - Full audio commentary
* West Ham United welcome Coca-Cola Championship side Barnsley to the Boleyn
Ground as they begin their challenge for the FA Cup.
* West Ham have won the FA Cup three times in their history - in 1964, 1975
and 1980 and finished as runners-up twice - in 1923 and 2006.
* Barnsley have won the FA Cup once - in 1912 - and were runners-up in 1910.
* The pair have met only once before in the FA Cup. Barnsley won a fourth
round tie 4-1 at Oakwell on 24 January 1993. Striker Andy Liddell struck a
hat-trick for the Tykes, while Trevor Morley scored the Hammers' consolation
in a game notable for freezing temperatures and a mid-match snow storm.
* West Ham start 2009 in fine form, having won both of the Premier League
matches they contested over the festive season. A 4-1 Boxing Day win at
Portsmouth was followed by a 2-1 home success against Stoke City on Sunday
* The club are on a strong run with just two defeats in the last eight games
- including draws away to Liverpool and Chelsea and wins against Sunderland,
Portsmouth and Stoke City.
* West Ham have not lost at home to Barnsley since the Yorkshire club's 5-2
win in the League Cup second round second leg on 6 October 1987. The Hammers
had taken a 2-0 lead through current first team coach Kevin Keen and Stewart
Robson, only for the Tykes to hit back through two Steve Agnew goals and
score three times more in extra-time.
* Barnsley have won just twice in 26 attempts against West Ham at the Boleyn
Ground. Aside from the aforementioned League Cup tie, the Tykes secured
their only other success in east London by way of a 2-0 victory on 8
* Barnsley reached the FA Cup semi-finals last season, beating Blackpool,
Southend United, Liverpool and Chelsea before going down 1-0 to Cardiff City
at Wembley in the last-four.
* Barnsley manager Simon Davey said: "It is nice to put the league on the
backburner and focus on an FA Cup game. We are going into it after winning
two and drawing one of the last three matches and there is no pressure on us
at all on Saturday. West Ham are a Premier League team with Premier League
players and we are looking forward to going there and giving it a good go.
We will be underdogs but to be fair we are the underdogs in the Championship
most weeks anyway. There is no pressure on us so hopefully we can go and
perform and it will be a good game. Hopefully we can go and do what we did
* The fourth-round draw will be held at 3.25pm on Sunday afternoon.
* West Ham return to Premier League action seeking their third successive
victory when they head to St James' Park to take on Newcastle United on
Saturday 10 January.
* West Ham United manager Gianfranco Zola could make changes to his matchday
squad for Saturday's FA Cup third round date with Barnsley, with a host of
fringe players hoping to be given a chance to impress against the Tykes.
* One player who will definitely not be involved is England midfielder Scott
Parker, who is suspended after picking up his fifth booking of the season in
the 4-1 Boxing Day win at Portsmouth.
* Former Spain international striker Diego Tristan is pushing for his first
start for West Ham after scoring the winner in last Sunday's 2-1 Premier
League victory over Stoke City. Teenager Freddie Sears is also hoping to be
* Craig Bellamy is available for selection again after missing the Stoke
victory through suspension.
* It remains to be seen if captain Lucas Neill will be back after he missed
the Stoke match with the twisted ankle he suffered during the first half of
the 4-1 Boxing Day success at Portsmouth.
* England international forward Kieron Dyer is in contention to make his
first appearance for the Hammers since breaking his leg in a Carling Cup tie
against Bristol Rovers in August 2007. The 30-year-old is back in full
training and successfully came through a behind-closed-doors friendly match
against a Major League Soccer Select XI last month.
* United States defender Jonathan Spector, a brief substitute against Stoke,
is available again following a hip injury while Walter Lopez, Lee Bowyer,
Matty Etherington and Bondz N'Gala - named in the matchday squad for the
first time for last Sunday's win over Stoke - will all hope to be involved.
* England Under-20 international defender James Tomkins is back from a
five-week loan spell at Coca-Cola Championship side Derby County. The
19-year-old made eight first team appearances for the Rams, helping them
reach the semi-finals of the Carling Cup.
* Mark Noble has been back in training after a virus cost him his place
* Five players are out on loan and are therefore unavailable for Saturday's
tie - Nigel Quashie (Birmingham City), Jimmy Walker (Colchester United),
Junior Stanislas (Southend United), Jordan Spence (Leyton Orient) and Joe
Widdowson (Grimsby Town).
* Barnsley will be without experienced on-loan striker Jamie Cureton after
the 33-year-old was refused permission to take part by his parent club
* The Tykes will also be without influential defender Rob Kozluk after the
former Sheffield United player suffered a facial injury in the club's 1-1
draw with Preston North End last weekend.
* Winger Martin Devaney, who played a starring role in Barnsley's FA Cup
wins over Liverpool and Barnsley last season, has an ankle injury and will
definitely not be involved in Saturday's tie.
* Canada forward Iain Hume is also ruled out as he continues his recovery
from a fractured skull suffered in a collision with Sheffield United
defender Chris Morgan in early November.
* Former Netherlands Under-21 forward Maceo Rigters and Nigeria striker
Kayode Odejayi are both pushing for starts at the Boleyn Ground after
starting Barnsley's last Championship fixture on the substitutes' bench.
With Cureton ruled out, one of the pair is likely to partner Jonathan Macken
* Barnsley manager Simon Davey could also call upon the services of
Argentinian defensive midfielder Hugo Colace, French winger Mounir El
Haimour and Brazilian full-back Dennis Souza.
Last time out
Sunday 28 December 2008
West Ham United 2-1 Stoke City
West Ham United: Green, Faubert, Collins, Upson, Ilunga, Behrami, Parker
(Mullins 77), Collison (Tristan 77), Boa Morte, Di Michele (Spector 89),
Subs not used: Lastuvka, N'Gala, Bowyer, Sears
Goals: Cole 51, Tristan 88
Sunday 28 December 2008
Barnsley 1-1 Preston North End
Barnsley: Muller, Van Homoet, Foster, Moore, Kozluk (Colace 46), Hassell,
Leon (El Haimour 55), De Silva, Campbell-Ryce, Cureton, Macken (Rigters 75)
Subs not used: Odejayi, Guedes
Goal: Cureton 16
* West Ham United and Barnsley face one another for the first time 10
January 1998, when the Hammers ran out 6-0 winners in a Premier League
fixture at the Boleyn Ground. Samassi Abou netted twice while Stan
Lazaridis, John Hartson, Frank Lampard and substitute John Moncur also got
their names on the scoresheet in front a crowd of 23,714.
* The lineups that day were:
West Ham United: Forrest, Potts, Lazaridis, Unsworth, Rio Ferdinand, Ian
Pearce, Impey (Moncur 31), Lampard, Berkovic (Paulo Alves 77), Hartson,
Subs not used: Lama, Rowland, Bishop
Goals: Lampard 5, Abou 31, 52, Moncur 57, Hartson 67, Lazaridis 90
Barnsley: Watson, Eaden, Appleby (Markstedt 31), Sheridan, Redfearn,
Tinkler, Hristov (Hendrie 73), Krizan (Marcelle 31), Barnard, Ward, Morgan.
Subs not used: Liddell, Bosancic
Head to head (last six meetings, league unless stated)
10 January 1998 - West Ham United 6-0 Barnsley
9 August 1997 - Barnsley 1-2 West Ham United
6 February 1993 - West Ham United 1-1 Barnsley
24 January 1993 - Barnsley 4-1 West Ham United (FA Cup Fourth Round)
16 August 1992 - Barnsley 0-1 West Ham United
1 April 1991 - West Ham United 3-2 Barnsley
Overall record v Barnsley (all competitions): W 28, D 14, L 9
For ticket information, click here. For details on getting to the Boleyn
Ground, click here.
The forecast is for a bright, sunny and chilly day with temperatures not
expected to get above 4C.
A normal Saturday service will be in operation on c2c all day, with extended
trains running on the Ockendon line. On the London Underground, the Jubilee
Line will be suspended between Green Park and Stratford, with two rail
replacement bus services in operation. The first will run between Bank and
Canada Water, calling at Monument, London Bridge and Bermondsey. The second
will run between North Greenwich and Stratford, calling at Canning Town and
West Ham. The Hammersmith and City line will be suspended between Edgware
Road and Barking, while the Metropolitan Line will be suspended between
Baker Street and Aldgate.
Boa buoyed for Barnsley
A hugely popular member of the squad, Luis Boa Morte is enjoying his latest
run in the West Ham United side
Luis Boa Morte is looking to start 2009 in the way he ended 2008 - by
playing his part in more West Ham United victories.
Part of the Arsenal squad that won the FA Cup in 1998, Boa Morte's
experience of the famous competition could be invaluable on Saturday as
Barnsley arrive at the Boleyn Ground eyeing a third-round upset. Rather than
dwell too much this week on his form in the wins against Portsmouth and
Stoke City, Boa Morte was thinking only of another strong showing this
"It is heads down now for Barnsley," the Portuguese attacker said. "The FA
Cup is important to us. Again it will be a tough game but we will go into it
with added confidence from the last two matches. At the same time, we know
we have to put the same hard work in again if we are to be successful. There
is no doubt that we will be doing this on Saturday."
He knows just what the FA Cup means to the fans and is eager to repay them
for the support he has had - not least when they were singing his name
during the Stoke success. When asked his message for the home faithful, he
said: "I just want them to know I am playing for the club and giving my full
commitment every time I play. I am a West Ham player and try to make sure
what I do helps the club."
Cup magic inspires Zola
The West Ham United manager is looking for a good run in the FA Cup and has
Kieron Dyer back to help
Having won the FA Cup twice as a player, West Ham United manager Gianfranco
Zola knows just how much the world's most famous knockout competition means
to the club's supporters.
Zola first lifted the famous trophy in 1997. Twelve years on and he is
desperate to experience those feelings of achievement and elation all over
again. To do so, the Hammers must first overcome Championship side Barnsley
in Saturday's third round tie at the Boleyn Ground.
The manager is fully aware of the tournament's long and illustrious history
and West Ham United's proud past with three Wembley wins. As such, he is
also fully aware of the FA Cup's tradition of giantkillings. With that in
mind, Zola is eager to ensure his side do not slip up against the Tykes.
"I think the FA Cup is always a difficult game," he said. "Barnsley came to
the semi-finals last season so they know how to cause problems for bigger
teams. It is a team we have to respect. I'm not underestimating them at all.
We're going to try and play the best we can and we have to if we're going to
Although a few changes are likely in his team to account for the rigours of
the busy Christmas schedule and Scott Parker's suspension, Zola will be able
to call upon England forward Kieron Dyer for the first time in 16 months as
he bids to be involved in Sunday afternoon's fourth-round draw..
The 30-year-old has not played a first team match since suffering a broken
leg in a Carling Cup second round tie at Bristol Rovers in August 2007. Last
month, Dyer successfully came through a behind-closed-doors friendly against
a Major League Soccer Select XI and, after shaking off a bout of flu, is
ready to return to competitive action.
"Kieron might be involved in the game," explained the manager. "Maybe it
might be difficult from the beginning but he might be involved from the
bench. Maybe he could get something during the game. We will see.
"I know it's been a big injury for him. He's been working very well in the
last few weeks. I know he's frustrated because he's training, training,
training and he would like to play but after such a long time out it's
difficult to get his condition.
"Before he plays he needs to have his full condition otherwise he can have
problems. I think he knows that. He is focused and is very excited to play.
We will try to have him back because he's an important player. It's
difficult but he has a lot of qualities physical-wise and I've seen in
training he is trying very hard so I'm sure he can cope."
Alongside Dyer, teenage defender James Tomkins is set to be in the squad
after returning from a successful loan spell at Championship side Derby
County, while United States defender Jonathan Spector is pushing hard for a
start after completing his recovery from a hip injury. Another hoping to
figure is Diego Tristan, who scored his first goal for the club in the 2-1
Premier League win over Stoke City last Sunday.
With Parker suspended and captain Lucas Neill sidelined with a sprained
ankle, Zola revealed that both could be given the chance to shine against
the Yorkshire club.
"I might try to see some players maybe. It depends on the conditions of the
players. We have played two matches in three days so they might have some
problems. There might be some changes."
The manager also believes that an FA Cup run will instil yet more confidence
in a squad that is already in a positive frame of mind after two Premier
League victories in three days over the Christmas period. While the league
remains Zola's priority, he is determined to give the club's supporters yet
another reason to be cheerful with victory.
"Obviously the league is important but I know from experience how important
the FA Cup is for the supporters, for the club and for the players so we
want to do well. We're not going to underestimate it at all."
"We care about this competition and we want to please them [the supporters]
so we will try to give them satisfactions. The cup, for me, is very
important. I've always said that winning my first FA Cup with Chelsea was
one of the best things that ever happened to me. It is important for
everybody so we'll all be focused on that."
When asked if West Ham can reach the final for the sixth time in the club's
history and the second time in four seasons, Zola was in optimistic frame of
"Hopefully. We're going to be there and we're going to try hard. The FA Cup
can be strange. You might find yourself in the final. We're confident and we
want to be there so we're going to try hard."
Dyer ready to make Hammers return
West Ham manager Gianfranco Zola is set to welcome back midfielder Kieron
Dyer after a 17-month injury lay-off for Saturday's FA Cup tie against
Barnsley. The 29-year-old broke his leg in a Carling Cup tie at Bristol
Rovers in August 2007 and suffered a further stress fracture earlier this
season. But the England international has impressed in training this week
and is poised to be included at the weekend. "He's focused and he's very
excited to play," said Zola. "He's been working well in the last few weeks
and we will try to get him back because he's an important player. I've seen
him training, he's trying very hard and he's got a lot of qualities. "I know
it's been a big injury for him and I know it's frustrating because he's
training, training, training and he would like to play. "After such a long
time out it would be difficult for him to be involved from the beginning."
Dyer has made just three appearances for the Hammers since completing a £6m
move from Newcastle in August 2007.
West Ham v Barnsley
FA Cup third round
Venue: Upton Park Date: Saturday, 3 January Kick-off: 1500 GMT
Coverage: Full commentary on BBC Radio Sheffield, score updates and text
commentary on BBC Sport website
Kieron Dyer is set to feature for the first time in 17 months for West Ham
after recovering from a broken leg. Craig Bellamy is available to play after
serving a one-match ban and James Tomkins is back from a loan spell at
Derby, but Scott Parker is suspended.
Barnsley are without on-loan striker Jamie Cureton who has been refused
permission to play by Norwich. Anderson De Silva (ankle) and Darren Moore
(knee) join Rob Kozluk and Martin Devaney on the injured list.
Barnsley were the surprise package in the FA Cup last season reaching the
semi-finals but Tykes manager Simon Davey told BBC Radio Sheffield there is
no added pressure on his side this year:
"We're going to West Ham with no pressure on us so in many ways it's a
perfect scenario. We can go there and relax."
"Last season we had an unbelievable run in the competition and it really did
put this club on the map. Leading the team out at Wembley in an FA cup
semi-final is the proudest moment of my career."
Barnsley must repeat their giant-killing feats of last season's
extraordinary FA Cup campaign if they're to make progress this time around.
The South Yorkshire side face West Ham at Upton Park in one of seven Premier
League against Championship third round ties.
West Ham are one of the most successful top-flight clubs, as far as
negotiating the third round is concerned. Last season's exit to Manchester
City was only the fifth time in 25 years they have fallen at this hurdle.
The League ladder
Barnsley are 26 places lower than West Ham in the league standings.
Michael Oliver (Northamptonshire)
Tuesday, 13 January 2009, 1945
FA CUP RECORDS AND BEST PERFORMANCES
WEST HAM UNITED
Won the last two, after failing to win 11 of the previous 12 - all Premier
Recent FA Cup performance
Failed to progress beyond the third round last season, for the first time in
Gianfranco Zola won two FA Cup winners' medals with Chelsea in 1997 (v
Middlesbrough) and 2000 (v Aston Villa).
FA Cup fact
The second of West Ham's three cup final winning line-ups in 1975 was the
last to be comprised entirely of English-born players.
Won two and drawn one of the last three; lost one of five.
Recent FA Cup performance
Knocked out Liverpool and Chelsea in successive rounds last season.
An energetic "box to box" midfielder as a player with Swansea, Carlisle,
Preston and Darlington, 38-year-old Simon Davey is in his third season in
charge of Barnsley - his first managerial appointment.
FA Cup fact
Barnsley qualified for the last four for only the third time in their
history last season, and the first since winning the trophy nine days after
the sinking of the Titanic.
HEAD to HEAD
West Ham last met Barnsley in the Premier League in 1997-98 and did the
double over them, winning 1-2 at the Oakwell and 6-0 at Upton Park.
Barnsley won the only previous FA Cup clash against the Hammers; 4-1 in the
fourth round 16 years ago. Both were second-tier clubs at the time.
Dyer set for Hammers return
England international could play against Barnsley
Last updated: 2nd January 2009
West Ham midfielder Kieron Dyer could make his long-awaited return in the FA
Cup clash against Barnsley on Saturday. The England international has
impressed boss Gianfranco Zola in training this week and is poised to be
included in the squad for the game. It will mark a welcome return to action
following more than a season on the sidelines recovering from a broken leg
suffered in a Carling Cup tie at Bristol Rovers in August 2007. His return
was then delayed earlier this season by a stress fracture, meaning he has
made just three appearances for West Ham since completing a £6million move
from Newcastle. Zola said: "He's focused and he's very excited to play and
we will try to get him back because he's an important player. I've seen him
training, he's trying very hard and he's got a lot of qualities.
"I know it's been a big injury for him and he's been working well in the
last few weeks. I know it's frustrating because he's training, training,
training and he would like to play. "After such a long time out it would be
difficult for him to be involved from the beginning."
Zola won the FA Cup twice as a player with Chelsea and he would love to
emulate that success as a manager. "Of course the league is very important
but from experience I know how important the FA Cup is here for the
supporters, for the club, for the players, so we want to do well in the cup
as well," said Zola. "For me the FA Cup is very important and winning my
first FA Cup with Chelsea was one of the best things to ever happen to me so
I know it is so important and we're going to be focused on it. "The FA Cup
can be strange. You might find yourself in the final. We are confident and
we want to be there so we're going to try very hard."
Defender James Tomkins is set to play against Barnsley after being recalled
from a successful loan spell with Derby. "I am glad to be back. The manager
wanted me back and I want to try and impress him. My aim is to get back in
the team," said Tomkins. "Derby wanted me for another month but West Ham
asked for me to come back. West Ham tried to watch me as much as they could
while I was there, so hopefully the manager would have been pleased with
what I did."
You Can Leave Your Hat On
Just Like My Dreams
They Broke Every Rule.
Desire. Infatuation. Obsession
Bjorgolfur Gudmundsson has just over two months to sell the club before his
holding company, Hansa, faces the possibility of being declared insolvent,
court papers in his native Iceland have revealed. That's 9½ tempestuous
weeks before the ravaged club totters glassy eyed into the street and our
Icelandic leader solemnly looks aft from his asset-stripped mansion,
counting to 50 and silently mouthing "I love you..."
Gudmundsson has put West Ham on the market in order to pay back debts
exceeding £50m that resulted from the collapse of the Icelandic bank
Landsbanki, in which he held a 41% stake. Interest has been shown but
Gudmundsson, who bought the club for £85m in 2006, is struggling to finalise
a deal having initially expected to raise £250m, a figure that, surprise
surprise, is proving unrealistic in the current financial climate. This is
something he needs to overcome by early March when, according to documents
seen by the Guardian, court officials will reconvene in Reykjavik to decide
if Hansa is in a position to repay its creditors, or has to be declared
insolvent and subsequently stripped of its assets, including West Ham.
Should the worse come to the worst, reports Sachin Nakrani, the club could
then be placed in administration in order to keep it alive. If that should
come to pass, the Premier League has confirmed West Ham would be hit with an
immediate points deduction. "Any club within the division that suffers an
insolvency event will automatically receive a nine-point sporting sanction,"
a spokesman said.
The most pressing of Hansa's creditors is the Reykjavik-based MP Investment
Bank, which is owed 5.4% of the company's overall debt. At a 10 December
hearing, representatives for MP argued that Hansa's financial problems "are
completely insurmountable ones and it is certain that their payment
difficulties are not temporary but permanent … The only real reason why
Hansa wished for a payment cessation was to prevent the creditors collecting
their claims, which would quickly have bankrupted the company." A spokesman
for MP this week confirmed it will again call for Hansa to be declared
insolvent when the parties reconvene in March if West Ham has not been sold.
Hansa was initially able to obtain breathing space by assuring the courts
that it could generate substantial funds from selling West Ham. Hansa said
it had already made contact with prospective owners and could generate up to
£250m from any sale. It compared the situation to the sale of Manchester
City, for £230m, saying that West Ham was worth more because of its "London
location, its loyal supporters, its proximity to the Olympic Village and the
fact that the club owns its own field". But there has been little progress
towards a takeover in recent weeks, partly due to Christmas but also because
the respective parties have not been able to agree on a fee. As many as nine
potential buyers are said by the West Ham insiders to have shown an interest
in the club and Gudmundsson, who is now permanently based in Reykjavik and
maintains contact with Upton Park via his vice-chairman Asgeir Fridgeirsson,
hopes discussions regarding a sale will speed up now the holiday period is
Even so, sources close to Gudmundsson admitted this week that £250m has
become an unrealistic figure and that if he is to finalise a deal in the
coming months, an offer closer to half of that will almost certainly have to
be accepted. "It is very difficult to sell any football club right now, it
is hard to maximise value," the source said. "But Mr Gudmundsson will not
accept an unsatisfactory amount, he is prepared to wait for the right offer
to come along." He also said Hansa had options for paying back creditors
other than selling West Ham.
Such financial uncertainty puts the club's manager, Gianfranco Zola, in a
difficult position. The club's chief executive, Scott Duxbury, has insisted
the Italian is not under pressure to sell any players, but he has been told
by Gudmundsson that any purchases during the just-opened transfer window can
only be made by selling first. Zola is open to the possibility of cashing in
on Craig Bellamy, who has scored just eight goals for the club following his
£7.5m move from Liverpool in July 2007, but wants more than the £6m Spurs
bid for the player in order to finance his own purchases. To generate funds,
Zola is also prepared to let a number of fringe players, such as Julien
Faubert and Luis Boa Morte, leave this month.
In the meantime, United are said to be considering a revised offer from
Manchester City for Scott Parker last night, after an initial joint £15
million bid for the midfield player and Craig Bellamy was turned down.
According to an article in the Times, City are thought to have offered about
£8 million for Parker, who has returned to fitness and form during this
campaign after being sidelined on three separate occasions for extended
periods with a knee injury last season. Gary Jacobs reports that Parker, who
has made 19 appearances in all competitions this season, has not been
angling for a move, but his £75,000-a-week wages are problematic for West
Ham, who are trying to cut costs.
Parker moved to Upton Park for £7 million from Newcastle United 18 months
ago to be reunited with Alan Curbishley, his former manager at Charlton
Athletic. Gianfranco Zola has suggested that the player is worthy of a
recall to the England squad, despite not having featured for the national
team since the 2-0 defeat away to Croatia in a European Championship
qualifying match in October 2006.
The Daily Mail are in agreement that Parker is wanted by City, but they
think he is still being targeted as one half of a double swoop involving
Bellamy. The big-spending Manchester club are reported to be preparing to
test United's resolve by increasing their bid for both to around £16million
within the next few days.
Although West Ham are up for sale, chief executive Scott Duxbury has
continually denied the club will try to cash in on their best players during
the transfer window, while offering the slight caveat: "Each approach will
be considered in terms of fee, fitness, form and where the manager thinks
the player is in his career. Similarly we have to consider whether the
player is committed to what we are trying to achieve. It may be we have an
offer which makes perfect sporting sense on all these factors but it will
only be accepted if we have a replacement lined up who will improve the
squad." Plenty of scope then for semantic jousting when the inevitable
The Mail 'understands' that Bellamy is keen to link up again with his former
Wales boss at Eastlands, while Parker has also expressed a wish to talk to
City, although he is more settled at Upton Park. Of course, Gianfranco Zola
will be reluctant to lose either player but it is reported could be placated
by the signing of adequate replacements. At this point it remains unclear
how the word 'adequate' should be interpreted in this case, and whether a
last minute loan deal for an unknown reserve team player from the lower
levels of a second rate league will tick the same boxes for the management
team as it will at boardroom level.
In another cost-cutting measure, captain Lucas Neill could be set to make a
move to Turkish side Galatasaray, according to several reports. Neill, 30,
who moved to Upton Park from Blackburn Rovers in January 2007, has six
months remaining on his West Ham contract, and the club have supposedly told
Galatasaray the defender can leave if the Turks agree to pay the final part
of his £70,000-per-week deal. However despite the interest it remains likely
Neill will see out the final months of his contract and take his time to
pick a new club in the summer.
Neill, who has made 46 international appearances for Australia, was
appointed West Ham captain in July 2007 following the departure of Nigel
Reo-Coker to Aston Villa: he has scored once in 68 appearances for the side.
The Telegraph states West Ham's reported willingness to release their club
captain is another sign of the troubles facing the Upton Park outfit,
although Scott Duxbury continues to put on a brace face. In an interview on
the official site yesterday, Duxbury is quoted as saying: "We must not be
afraid of interest in, or bids for, our leading players. Each approach will
be considered in terms of fee, fitness, form and where the manager thinks
the player is in his career. We have to consider the will of the player and
if he is committed to what we are trying to achieve."
Finally, young West Ham United full-back Joe Widdowson as joined Grimsby
Town on loan. The 19-year-old has agreed a one-month deal with the
Lincolnshire club in a bid to gain first team experience. He will go
straight into the squad for Grimsby's game at Barnet and could start in
place of Tom Newey who is struggling with injury. Widdowson played three
games while on loan at Rotherham last season.
Posted by Trilby at 12:53
Can Davey's Barnsley find another Hammer FA Cup blow?
By Peter Ferguson Last updated at 12:29 AM on 03rd January 2009
Barnsley might have missed out amid the backslapping and prizegiving that
celebrated our brilliant sporting 2008, but if they gave an award for the FA
Cup team that punched hardest above its weight it would be sitting proudly
at Oakwell. Beating Liverpool in front of the Kop was some feat for Simon
Davey's unfashionable side. The only way to top that was by dismissing
Chelsea in a crackling tie so highly charged that, well, you had to be
there. No matter that their Cup fairytale was cut short by Cardiff in the
semi-final. Theirs was still one of the year's heroic stories and it will be
a good while before Barnsley's Cup opponents come off the 'at risk'
register. Third-round hosts West Ham hardly need a warning from defender
Steve Foster, who says: 'If we perform well on the day we're a good team and
can give anyone a game. You only have to look back at Anfield. We'll go
there and give it a go.' Foster, who cost £100,000 from Burnley, was named
Player of the Season by the fans. His equaliser at Liverpool did him no harm
when the voting slips were being filled in but Barnsley will not be relying
on nostalgia at Upton Park.
Their season has been overshadowed by the horrendous head injury suffered by
Iain Hume in a challenge with Chris Morgan, with the 25-year-old Canada
forward forced to undergo emergency surgery for swelling on the brain. Hume,
happily, is making a carefullymonitored recovery and is due to consult
physiotherapy staff with a view to resuming light exercise while lawyers
continue to work behind the scenes to decide on any course of legal action.
On the pitch, however, Barnsley find themselves refreshingly clear of
immediate danger. Currently 16th in the Championship, they will face West
Ham eight points clear of the bottom three and looking upwards. Davey, his
team free from anxiety this time around, exudes confidence. The manager
said: 'You have to believe that these players can win. 'They've beaten
Liverpool and Chelsea in the last year, and they believe they can go to West
Ham and do it again. 'We'll be the underdogs but then we are the underdogs
in the Championship most weeks anyway. 'We went into those ties against
Liverpool and Chelsea with a game plan and wanted to win. 'Our players
raised their games against two of the top four and we were at full tilt. If
you are not then we will take advantage.' Davey's own profile was raised
immeasurably by last year's exploits and he is now linked with vacancies on
a regular basis. Sooner or later, the reasoning goes, a bigger club will
offer the ambitious Welshman a better platform for his skills. He said: 'I
will never forget Brian Howard's goal at Anfield or Kayode Odejayi's header
against Chelsea but leading the team out at Wembley in an FA Cup semi-final
in my first full season as manager is the thing that makes me the proudest.
'Last year was the highest I have ever been and hopefully I can go on to
bigger and better things in the future.'
Sam Wants A Slice of Luc
By PAT SHEEHAN
SAM ALLARDYCE is close to taking Lucas Neill back from West Ham as he plots
Blackburn's great escape. The new Ewood Park boss can land Neill, 30, on a
free as the full-back's contract is up this summer. The Hammers want to get
£60,000-a-week Neill off their huge wage bill. And Allardyce is prepared to
hand him a three-year deal worth £50,000 a week. West Ham chief executive
Scott Duxbury has gone on record to admit the club will bomb any player who
is unhappy at Upton Park.
Neill joined West Ham from Rovers for £1.5m in 2007 and helped them avoid
relegation. Blackburn will make room for Neill's pending arrival by moving
on right back Andre Ooijer, 34, to Dutch side AZ Alkmaar.
Relight My Dyer
By ANTONY KASTRINAKIS
KIERON DYER is finally ready for a return to action after spending the last
17 months recovering from a broken leg. West Ham midfielder Dyer, 29,
underwent three ops on the injury suffered in a Carling Cup clash at Bristol
Rovers in August 2007. Then the former England star had his return delayed
earlier this season by a stress fracture. But he has impressed boss
Gianfranco Zola in training this week and is poised to be included in the
squad for today's FA Cup third-round showdown against Barnsley. Zola said:
"He's focused and he's very excited to play. "We will try to get him back
because he's an important player. "I've seen him training, he's trying very
hard and he's got a lot of qualities. "I know it's been a big injury for him
but he has been working well in the last few weeks."
Zola wants to lead the Hammers all the way to Wembley. He has said winning
the FA Cup with Chelsea is his most treasured memory in a glittering playing
career. And he believes West Ham can repeat the feat of three years ago when
they reached the final but lost to Liverpool on penalties. Zola said: "The
league is important but I know how important the FA Cup is from experience.
"For the supporters, for the club, for the players. We want to do well in
the cup as well and we won't under-estimate it. "The supporters care about
this competition and we want to please them so, hopefully, we will have a
chance of getting to the final."
West Ham Will Not Be Sold By Gudmundsson - Reports
West Ham sources have revealed that the club's Icelandic owners will not be
selling the club.
The stories of financial instability at West Ham United continue to
circulate, but sources close to the club have today indicated that its
owners will not be forced into selling the club before a speculated March
deadline. Although owner Bjorgolfur Gudmundsson has been badly affected by
the collapse of the banking system in his native Iceland, the club is not in
significant danger, England's Daily Telegraph reports. The Premier League
apparently regard West Ham United plc as "the member organisation", and the
club's security is "fire-walled" according to vice chairman Asgeir
Fridgeirsson. Hammers' chief executive Scott Duxbury has also insisted that
the club is not in a position where selling players is essential in order to
stave off financial collapse. Meanwhile, Irons' midfielder Kieron Dyer is
set to make his long-awaited return for the side in the FA Cup Third Round
tomorrow against Barnsley. The player has been out for 17 months after
breaking his leg, and had his return delayed last moth due to a stress
fracture. He is fit now though. "He's focused and he's very excited to play
and we will try to get him back because he's an important player," said West
Ham manager Gianfranco Zola. "I've seen him training, he's trying very hard
and he's got a lot of qualities. I know it's been a big injury for him and
he's been working well in the last few weeks. "I know it's frustrating
because he's training and he would like to play. It would be difficult for
him to be involved from the beginning."
Zack Wilson, Goal.com
Dyer set to return after 17 months out
By John Nisbet
Saturday, 3 January 2009
Kieron Dyer, the West Ham midfielder, is finally ready for a return to
action after spending the last 17 months recovering from a broken leg. Dyer
underwent three operations on the injury suffered in a Carling Cup tie at
Bristol Rovers in August 2007 and then had his return delayed this season by
a stress fracture. But the England international has impressed his manager
Gianfranco Zola in training this week and he is poised to be included in the
squad for today's FA Cup third-round tie against Barnsley at Upton Park.
Zola said: "He's focused and he's very excited to play and we will try to
get him back because he's an important player. I've seen him training, he's
trying very hard and he's got a lot of qualities. "It's been a big injury
for him and he's been working well in the last few weeks. I know it's
frustrating because he's training, training, training and he would like to
play. After such a long time out it would be difficult for him to be
involved from the beginning."
West Ham deny Bjorgolfur Gudmundsson under pressure to sell
West Ham sources have firmly denied suggestions that owner Bjorgolfur
Gudmundsson is under pressure to sell the club ahead of a March deadline.
By Jeremy Wilson
Last Updated: 7:58PM GMT 02 Jan 2009
Although Gudmundsson has been significantly affected by the Icelandic
economic crisis, West Ham United plc are regarded as the member organisation
by the Premier League and vice chairman Asgeir Fridgeirsson has described
the club as "fire-walled". Chief executive Scott Duxbury has also stressed
that West Ham do not need to sell players this January. West Ham midfielder
Kieron Dyer, meanwhile, is poised to return for today's FA Cup match against
Barnsley after spending the last 17 months recovering from a broken leg.
Dyer, 29, underwent three operations on the injury and then had his return
delayed earlier this season by a stress fracture.
"He's focused and he's very excited to play and we will try to get him back
because he's an important player," said West Ham manager Gianfranco Zola.
"I've seen him training, he's trying very hard and he's got a lot of
qualities. I know it's been a big injury for him and he's been working well
in the last few weeks. "I know it's frustrating because he's training and he
would like to play. It would be difficult for him to be involved from the