All the team news and background information ahead of Wednesday's Carling
Cup fourth-round tie
WEST HAM UNITED v STOKE CITY
CARLING CUP - FOURTH ROUND
WEDNESDAY 27 OCTOBER 2010
• West Ham United host Stoke City in the Carling Cup fourth round, aiming to
reach the quarter-finals for the first time since the 2007/08 season.
• The Hammers reached the last 16 by defeating League Two new boys Oxford
United 1-0 at home and fellow Barclays Premier League side Sunderland 2-1
away from home.
• Stoke have been at home in each of their opening two Carling Cup ties this
season, defeating League Two outfit Shrewsbury Town 2-1 before overcoming
Premier League Fulham in the third round.
• West Ham picked up their first Premier League point of the season at Stoke
on Saturday 18 September. Scott Parker netted a first-half opener at the
Britannia Stadium before Kenwyne Jones headed in an equaliser after the
• West Ham and Stoke have met three times previously in the League Cup. The
first meeting, in the 1971/72 semi-finals, saw the Potters prevail 3-2 in a
second replay at Old Trafford. In 1982/83, the Hammers won 3-2 on aggregate
in the second round before prevailing 5-1 on aggregate at the same stage in
• West Ham manager Avram Grant guided Portsmouth to a 4-0 Carling Cup
fourth-round victory over Stoke last season. Frederic Piquionne scored twice
in that tie at Fratton Park.
Wednesday's team news
West Ham United
• Right-back Lars Jacobsen will definitely miss Wednesday's game as he is
cup-tied. Jacobsen featured for Blackburn Rovers in their second-round
victory over Norwich City in August. Julien Faubert could deputise as his
three-match ban for a reserves red card does not start until Birmingham away
on 6 November.
• Captain and centre-back Matthew Upson is likely to miss the tie after
picking up a minor hamstring injury in Saturday's 2-1 Premier League defeat
by Newcastle United.
• Forward Frederic Piquionne is struggling to be fit after suffering a knock
during the second half of the Newcastle defeat. Should the France
international not make it, his place could go to South Africa forward Benni
• Frank Nouble is back at the club after being recalled early from his
three-month loan at Swansea City.
• The Hammers will definitely be without Thomas Hitzlsperger (thigh), Jack
Collison, Zavon Hines and Peter Kurucz (all knee).
• Stoke City will definitely be without Mali international striker Mamady
Sidibe, who has been ruled out for the remainder of the 2010/11 season after
suffering a ruptured achilles in the 2-1 home Barclays Premier League defeat
by Tottenham Hotspur on 21 August.
• Jamaica forward Ricardo Fuller is struggling to be fit for the tie after
suffering a shoulder injury. The man who scored Stoke's winner in their 1-0
Premier League victory at the Boleyn Ground last season was not risked in
Sunday's 2-1 home defeat by Manchester United.
• The most recent meeting between the two sides was on 18 September 2010,
when 27,028 supporters saw them draw 1-1 in a Barclays Premier League
fixture at the Britannia Stadium. Scott Parker put West Ham United ahead
from close-range on 32 minutes, only for Kenwyne Jones to head in an
equaliser three minutes after half-time.
The lineups were:
Stoke City: Sorensen, Huth, Faye, Collins, Shawcross, Delap, Etherington,
Pennant (Whelan 83), Whitehead, Walters (Fuller 66), Jones (Gudjohnsen 73)
Subs not used: Begovic, Wilkinson, Higginbotham, Wilson,
West Ham United: Green, Gabbidon, Jacobsen, Upson, Da Costa, Parker, Noble,
Behrami (Kovac 52), Piquionne, Cole, Obinna (Boa Morte 89)
Subs not used: Faubert, Stech, Tomkins, Barrera, McCarthy
• Wednesday's game marks the 80th time West Ham and Stoke have faced one
another in competitive fixtures, and the ninth in the League Cup. West Ham
have won 31, Stoke 29 and there have been 19 draws. In this competition,
West Ham have won four, Stoke two and two matches have been drawn.
v Stoke City (all competitions) W 31 D 19 L 29
Last time out
• West Ham United were beaten 2-1 by Newcastle United at the Boleyn Ground
on Saturday 23 October. The Hammers went ahead on 12 minutes when Carlton
Cole slid home from Frederic Piquionne's cross-shot. Barclays Premier League
new boys Newcastle equalised through Kevin Nolan eleven minutes later before
Andy Carroll headed in Joey Barton's cross to score the winner after
23 October 2010
Barclays Premier League
West Ham United 1-2 Newcastle United
West Ham United: Green, Jacobsen, Gabbidon, Upson (Ilunga 53), Da Costa,
Parker, Noble, Behrami (Barrera 76), Piquionne (McCarthy 68), Cole, Obinna
Subs not used: Stech, Ben Haim, Boa Morte, Faubert
• Stoke City were defeated 2-1 at home by Manchester United in the Barclays
Premier League on Sunday. Javier Hernandez put United ahead midway through
the first half with an expertly-taken header. Stoke substitute Tuncay Sanli
equalised with nine minutes remaining, only for Hernandez to snatch all
three points with four minutes to go.
24 October 2010
Barclays Premier League
Stoke City 1-2 Manchester United
Stoke City: Sorensen, Huth, Faye, Collins (Higginbotham 57), Wilson,
Shawcross, Delap, Etherington, Pennant (Gudjohnsen 79), Walters (Tuncay 66),
Subs not used: Begovic, Whelan, Pugh, Wilkinson
West Ham United
• West Ham United are seeking to reach the Carling Cup quarter-finals for
the first time since 2007/08. Carlton Cole's goal saw the Hammers win 1-0 at
Coventry City in the fourth round before being defeated by Everton in the
• West Ham possess the seventh-best record in Carling Cup history. The
Hammers have contested 194 ties, winning 100, drawing 39 and losing 55. West
Ham have scored 361 goals and conceded 233 in those matches.
• Stoke City are aiming to reach the Carling Cup quarter-finals for the
second time in three seasons. The Potters got to the last-eight in 2008/09,
where they were beaten by a Derby County side including on-loan West Ham
United defender James Tomkins.
• Stoke brought in two strikers to boost their attacking options. Jon
Walters was snapped up from Ipswich Town for £2.75m, while the club splashed
out £8m to bring in Trinidad and Tobago international Kenwyne Jones from
Sunderland. Iceland forward Eidur Gudjohnsen was snapped up from AS Monaco
on a permanent contract, while midfielder Salif Diao rejoined the club on a
free contract. Winger Jermaine Pennant has been brought in on loan from
Spanish club Real Zaragoza. Finally, defender Marc Wilson has arrived from
• The Potters allowed young striker Nathaniel Wedderburn to join Northampton
Town on a free transfer, veteran defender Andy Griffin to join Reading for
an undisclosed fee, while England striker James Beattie left for Scottish
giants Rangers, also for an undisclosed fee. Striker Dave Kitson joined
Portsmouth on transfer deadline day as part of the deal that took Marc
Wilson to Stoke, but team-mate Liam Lawrence missed the transfer deadline
and has instead joined Pompey on an emergency loan until January 2011.
• Diego Arismendi has joined Barnsley on loan, while Ibrahima Sonko and Carl
Dickinson have also linked up with Portsmouth on a temporary basis. Ben
Marshall has been loaned to Carlisle United.
• Stoke have the 34th-best record in the history of the Premier League. The
Potters have contested 80 matches, winning 24, drawing 23 and losing 33.
Stoke have scored 76 goals in those matches, conceding 110. In all, Stoke
have collected 95 Premier League points.
Ten-year League Cup records
West Ham United
2009/10 Third round (lost 1-3 after extra time at Bolton Wanderers)
2008/09 Third round (lost 0-1 at Watford)
2007/08 Quarter-final (lost 1-2 v Everton)
2006/07 Third round (lost 1-2 at Chesterfield)
2005/06 Third round (lost 0-1 at Bolton Wanderers)
2004/05 Third round (lost 0-1 at Chelsea)
2003/04 Third round (lost 0-1 after extra time at Tottenham Hotspur)
2002/03 Third round (lost 0-1 v Oldham Athletic)
2001/02 Second round (lost 6-5 on penalties following 0-0 draw at Reading)
2000/01 Fourth round (lost 1-2 v Sheffield Wednesday)
2009/10 Fourth round (lost 0-4 at Portsmouth)
2008/09 Quarter-final (lost 0-1 v Derby County)
2007/08 First round (lost 4-2 on penalties following 2-2 draw at Rochdale)
2006/07 First round (lost 1-2 v Darlington)
2005/06 First round (lost 3-0 on penalties following 1-1 draw at Mansfield)
2004/05 First round (lost 1-2 at Oldham Athletic)
2003/04 Second round (lost 0-2 v Gillingham)
2002/03 First round (lost 1-0 at Bury)
2001/02 First round (lost 6-5 on penalties following 0-0 draw v Oldham
2000/01 Fourth round (lost 0-8 v Liverpool)
• West Ham first-team coach Kevin Keen made 201 league and cup appearances
for Stoke between October 1994 and September 2000, scoring 12 goals. Keen, a
former West Ham apprentice, made 279 league and cup appearances for the
Hammers between March 1984 and July 1993, scoring 30 goals.
• Stoke winger Matthew Etherington made 195 appearances for West Ham between
August 2003 and January 2009, scoring 18 goals. He joined the Potters on 8
January 2009, having moved to the Boleyn Ground from Tottenham Hotspur
five-and-a-half years previously.
• Among the other players who have represented both clubs are Clive Clarke,
Bob Dixon, Sir Geoff Hurst, Lawrie Leslie, Nicky Morgan, Henri Camara and
Referee - Howard Webb
Assistant referees - Stephen Child and Jake Collin
Fourth Official - Keith Stroud
• Howard Webb took charge of the 2010 FIFA World Cup final between Spain and
Netherlands in South Africa.
• Webb began officiating in Yorkshire in 1989. Webb was appointed as a
Football League assistant referee in 1996, fulfilling the same role in the
Barclays Premier League in 1998.
• The 39-year-old took charge of his first Barclays Premier League match as
a referee in October 2003 and has since been the man-in-the-middle for a
host of high-profile fixtures.
• Webb also refereed the 2005 FA Community Shield, 2006 FA Trophy final and
2006 UEFA European Under-21 Championship, as well as taking charge of his
first UEFA Champions League match in 2006. The former police officer was
referee for the 2007 Carling Cup final and was selected as England's
representative at Euro 2008, taking charge of the first match of the
tournament between Austria and Poland and the Group D fixture between Greece
and eventual champions Spain.
• Webb has taken charge of West Ham United once before this season,
refereeing the 2-1 Carling Cup third-round victory at Sunderland. The former
police officer was also in charge of Stoke City's 1-0 Barclays Premier
League victory over Blackburn Rovers.
• West Ham United travel to the Emirates to take on Arsenal in the Barclays
Premier League on Saturday afternoon, with kick-off at 3pm.
• Stoke City travel to Goodison Park to face Everton in the Barclays Premier
League on Saturday, with kick-off at 3pm.
• Wednesday's weather forecast is for light rain with a maximum daytime
temperature of 16C (61F) in east London.
• Tickets are available at reduced rates for Wednesday's tie. Season ticket
holders can buy tickets for just £15 for adults and £5 for children.
Non-season ticket holders can buy tickets for £20 for adults and £10 for
Cup memories inspire Grant
The manager is hoping his team can replicate the success he enjoyed against
Stoke last season
Avram Grant would relish history repeating itself when West Ham United
welcome Stoke City in the Carling Cup last 16 on Wednesday night. The
manager was at Portsmouth last season when they took on the Potters in the
same round of the same competition. Pompey won 4-0 against Tony Pulis's side
with Freddie Piquionne scoring twice, and took that form on to the following
weekend when they won by the same scoreline against Wigan Athletic. "It
would be very nice to repeat that," said Grant. "I remember the game well.
It was three weeks after I arrived and it was a great game. After that we
also won a big game in the league and the football side improved."
The Hammers reached this season's fourth round with a fine 2-1 win at
Sunderland and, as well as keeping the cup dream alive, it also proved the
platform for the 1-0 home win against Tottenham four days later. Grant
added: "The Carling Cup is important. We won at Sunderland in the last round
and this gave us a big lift forward for the league. We played well against a
difficult team and then won against Tottenham. We want to do the same again.
"It will be a big test. Against Stoke it is always a battle, a physical and
mental battle. You always need to be awake, as it is a different style of
football. We did well at Stoke in the league last month and I hope we
The manager has been impressed by the way the players have responded in
training since the weekend loss against Newcastle United. "I have been
surprised by the mood. The players are disappointed of course but they are
more determined to get back to the form that we have shown in the past
month. We had been much better than we were at the start of the season and
enjoyed a good unbeaten run. "Unfortunately we lost the game on Saturday. We
cannot change these things but we can learn from it. We need to focus on the
positive side. We have learnt from our mistakes before and come back
As in the previous rounds, the manager may make a few changes - some
possibly enforced with weekend worries over Matthew Upson and Piquionne.
"The medical department are doing their best to get as many players ready as
possible. "We have a few players that are coming back from injury and we
need to protect them. It is not easy. We want to use them. It is difficult
when you play two times a week but we will do the best we can."
While some changes may be enforced, the manager may also use the chance to
look at players who have been working hard at Chadwell Heath but have not
figured much of late. "We changed a few things in the team against
Sunderland in the last round and it was very positive. Players came in and
performed well and gave us a better understanding of the squad. This will be
the case again "At the beginning of the season people said we didn't have a
strong squad. I would not say we can rival the top four but the cup has
helped to show that we do have good players and more options."
Grant hoped the supporters would be in full voice for a noisy night under
the lights that has to be settled on the evening - with the prospect of
extra time and penalties should the 90 minutes not separate the sides. He
knows full well what a good cup run can do and would relish the chance to
give all at the Boleyn a lift. "The fans are great here. They support the
team and I feel them everywhere. They are having to be patient but they knew
like everyone that this season would be a difficult one. "I can tell you
that I was a few times at Wembley and even one time in Moscow. It is nice to
have a cup run. It is one game and we need to focus. In the league, you can
lose a game but you can recover in the next match. In the cup if you do a
mistake you are out.
"We have to make the match all about us. We have bounced back before this
season and we will be working hard to do that once again."
Sears settles in quickly
Homegrown Hammer Freddie Sears has made a good start to life on loan at
Freddie Sears has spoken of his satisfaction after an instant impact on loan
at Scunthorpe United. The 20-year-old arrived at the Championship club a
week ago and barely had time to say hello to his new team-mates before he
was handed the No10 shirt and making his debut against Preston North End. He
impressed in the 3-2 win and then repeated the star turn with a 2-0 away win
against Watford on Saturday. "The two games have gone really well," he told
whufc.com. "It has been good to get the run-outs and help out the team. It
was a bit weird the way it all started. I didn't train with the team, we
just met for the coach to Preston and it was just a case of get on with it.
"I spoke to the boys on the bus and it all worked out right in the end. The
football helps, all the boys know what they are about and want to do well.
It was really easy to settle straight into the side."
Sears had the extra pressure of being handed the No10 shirt but admitted he
thought he would have to wait for a chance off the bench. "I didn't expect
to get that number but it was a sign the gaffer really wants me. It was a
bit of a surprise but a nice one." He added: "I was delighted to play. I am
disappointed not to have scored yet - against Preston I hit the post and we
scored from it but at the end of the day the most important thing is the
Scunthorpe had not won in six matches before Sears' arrival and to follow up
the Preston points with a success at high-flying Watford at the weekend was
even sweeter. "Watford are flying at the minute but it is a good league.
Anyone can beat anyone and we were really up for it. To get six points from
two games was great."
One stand-out moment at Vicarage Road saw Sears show electric pace from the
halfway line, beat a couple of men and then send in a curling effort that
was only just tipped away. "It was a good run and a great shot. I thought it
was in. I don't know how he has managed to save it but the goal will come."
The England Under-21 forward would love to get off the mark at home to Leeds
on Saturday. " It is a bit of a derby and everyone is looking forward to it.
I have come here to play games and I am getting that. "There is no point
going on loan if you are not going to play. When you get to play, you feel
good and it is a big step up from the reserves. You are able to show what
you can do. "I am here for a few weeks and will try and play as much as I
can. You have just got to keep it up, you know people are watching how you
do and looking at the games."
West Ham recall Frank Nouble from Swansea loan deal
West Ham United have recalled striker Frank Nouble, who has been on a
three-month loan at Swansea City. The England under-19 international only
joined the club last month, but injuries in the Hammers squad have seen his
stay cut short. Nouble, 19, made six appearances for the Swans, including
two starts, and scored one goal. That strike came in the 3-2 Championship
win over Watford at Vicarage Road at the start of October.
Filed: Tuesday, 26th October 2010
By: Staff Writer
West Ham's Mark Noble could be set to feature for the Republic of Ireland at
international level, according to fresh rumours. The 23-year-old Hammers
midfielder is said to be considering giving up hope of featuring for England
- whom he has previously captained at under 21 level - in order to play for
the Irish. Canning Town-born Noble is understood to qualify to play for
Ireland through one of his grandparents and is able to do so following a
FIFA ruling last year that declared players who have represented one country
at youth and under-21 level can now change their allegiance. Noble - who
made his 20th and final appearance for England's under-21s at the 2009
European Championships, in which he captained the side beaten in the final
by Germany - has never been picked at senior level for England and is said
to have run out of patience, despite the careers of regular central
midfielders such as Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard soon to be coming to an
Grant eyeing cup boost
Hammers boss desperate for momentum
Last updated: 26th October 2010
West Ham boss Avram Grant is hoping a run in the Carling Cup can transform
their Premier League form. The Hammers have endured a torrid start to their
league campaign and sit bottom of the pile on six points from their nine
games. Their solitary win, which was against London rivals Tottenham, came
on the back of an impressive Carling Cup second-round win against
Sunderland. That 2-1 victory has set up a third-round encounter at home to
Stoke and Grant is desperate for his side to use the competition to get some
momentum. "The Carling Cup is important," he told the club's official
website. "We won at Sunderland in the last round and this gave us a big lift
forward for the league. "We played well against a difficult team and then
won against Tottenham.
"We want to do the same again."
The Hammers have already played Stoke once this season, drawing 1-1 in a
league game they should perhaps have won and Grant is taking confidence from
that encounter. "You always need to be awake, as it is a different style of
football," he explained. "We did well at Stoke in the league last month and
I hope we reproduce that."
Hammer n Tongs
By OLIVER BISSET
AVRAM GRANT has warned West Ham to steel themselves for war tonight. The
Hammers host a Stoke side that was one of the clubs named by Fulham star
Danny Murphy for being over physical. Hammers boss Grant admitted: "It will
be a big test. Against Stoke, it is always a battle - a physical and mental
battle. "You always need to be awake. "We did well at Stoke in the league
last month. I hope we reproduce that." The Hammers picked up their first
point of the season at the Britannia in a 1-1 draw. Grant added: "This cup
is important. We won at Sunderland in the last round and it gave us a big
lift for the league."
Grant hoping cup win can springboard Hammers to Arsenal upset
Published 23:00 26/10/10 By Darren Lewis
Avram Grant believes the Carling Cup can reignite West Ham's league form -
just as it did in the last round. The Hammers' win at Sunderland last month
provided the platform for their first league victory of the season, a shock
win over Spurs, just days later. Now Grant wants to warm up for an even
bigger upset - over Arsenal on Saturday - by seeing off Stoke tonight. The
Israeli said: "The Carling Cup is important. We won at Sunderland in the
last round and this gave us a big lift forward for the league. "We played
well against a difficult team and then won against Tottenham. We want to do
the same again."
The Hammers have already coped with Stoke so far this season, holding Tony
Pulis's men to a 1-1 draw at the Britannia Stadium just four days before
their win over Sunderland. And Grant enjoyed Carling Cup success over the
Potters at this stage last season as Portsmouth manager, winning 4-0.
Grant added: "It would be very nice to repeat that. I remember the game
well. It was three weeks after I arrived and it was a great game. "After
that, we also won a big game in the league and the football side improved.
"It will be a big test [this time]. Against Stoke, it is always a battle, a
physical and mental battle. "You always need to be awake, as it is a
different style of football. We did well at Stoke in the league last month
and I hope we reproduce that."
Saturday's defeat to Newcastle left West Ham rooted to the foot of the
Premier League but Grant insists the atmosphere in the camp has been upbeat
since then. He went on: "I have been surprised by the mood. The players are
disappointed, of course, but they are more determined to get back to the
form that we have shown in the past month. "We had been much better than we
were at the start of the season and enjoyed a good unbeaten run.
"Unfortunately, we lost the game on Saturday. We cannot change these things
but we can learn from it. "We need to focus on the positive side. We have
learnt from our mistakes before and come back strongly."
Grant is set to be without captain Matthew Upson and striker Frederic
Piquionne tomorrow night, with both players going off injured against
He said: "The medical department are doing their best to get as many players
ready as possible," said Grant, who will introduce one or two fringe men to
his squad. "We have a few players that are coming back from injury and we
need to protect them. It is not easy. "We want to use them. It is difficult
when you play two times a week but we will do the best we can."
Top Three S*xy Fans: West Ham United
Author: Alex Manby
Posted on:26 October 2010 - 15:41
Going to the football. It's all about the crowd, the lager, the shouting,
the swearing, the shirt wearing, the lager, the pre-match pie, the
post-match burger, the lager, the sound of the ball hitting the back of the
net… But increasingly, there's an element of the eye candy about going to
watch your team play. Female fans represent an ever increasing demographic
of football supporters, and that's no bad thing for us fellas. In fact, two
thirds of football fans polled agreed that seeing a girl in their team's
shirt was a turn-on. So how about seeing the most beautiful women in the
world sporting the kit? Sport.co.uk pays tribute to football's s*xiest
celebrity fans… Next up, it's West Ham
Not only is Keira a die-hard Hammers fan, she is also an incredibly talented
footballer herself. Her Indian friend whose name we forget introduced her to
the game even though she wasn't allowed to play herself because of her
conservative family then they carried on playing and were really good then
they had a fight over some guy who was their coach then we don't remember
what happened but in the end they were all friends and maybe won a match or
even a cup or something…
Russell Brand seems to polarise opinion. Some think he's a bit of a berk,
others say he's the funniest man in Britain. Every red-blooded man, however,
must have turned a little bit green with envy on seeing Katy's outfit at the
MTV European Music Awards in 2009. She appeared in a saucy corset and hot
pants combo, both of which were in West Ham colours with the club's badge
smattered all over the place. She kissed a girl and she liked it? She went
to Upton Park and she loved it!
We obviously weren't the only ones sitting up and paying attention to Katy
Perry. Little Pixie saw what we saw and her eyes bulged. "I really want that
West Ham outfit. It's amazing. I'm a massive West Ham fan so I obviously
love the outfit" she revealed. The sexy songstress gained straight A grades
in her GCSEs; maybe she can put those brains to good use and try to solve
the Hammers' current on-field problems.
Honourable mention goes to…
Narrowing the Hammers girls down to three just wasn't possible, so we
include Peta even though on hearing her name you'd think she was a bloke.
She was spotted by The Sun while still 17 years of age and a tortuous wait
for her next birthday ensued. When it finally arrived, she fulfilled her
destiny and became a Page 3 girl, though she never abandoned her love of
West Ham, admitting that she has a weird crush on former Hammer Stuart
Pearce and commenting that famous West Ham-abandoner Frank Lampard is "just
a bit rodent-looking!"
West Ham without Matthew Upson and Frédéric Piquionne for Stoke match
Avram Grant says Carling Cup is important to club
Several fringe players in contention to start
guardian.co.uk, Tuesday 26 October 2010 21.34 BST
Avram Grant's attempts to spark West Ham United's spluttering season in
their Carling Cup fourth-round tie against Stoke City will be hampered by
the absence of key players in Frédéric Piquionne and Matthew Upson.
The Londoners remain anchored to the foot of the Premier League following
Saturday's home defeat to Newcastle, a result that curtailed an encouraging
five-match unbeaten run in all competitions. West Ham have still only one
league victory to date this term, though Grant has been encouraged by his
players' reaction in training to the weekend loss and hopes progress in the
cup will spark a revival in the top-flight, with daunting trips to Arsenal
and Birmingham looming.
"I have been surprised by the mood," said Grant. "The players are
disappointed, of course, but they are more determined to get back to the
form that we have shown in the past month. We had been much better than we
were at the start of the season and enjoyed a good unbeaten run.
Unfortunately we lost the game on Saturday. We cannot change these things,
but we can learn from it. We need to focus on the positive side. We have
learnt from our mistakes before and come back strongly."
The absence of Piquionne, so impressive since his summer move from Lyon but
substituted after sustaining a knock against Newcastle, and Upson, who has a
slight hamstring complaint, represents a blow, though Benni McCarthy,
Radoslav Kovac, Tal Ben Haim, James Tomkins and Pablo Barrera are expected
to be involved against Stoke.
"The Carling Cup is important," added Grant. "We won at Sunderland in the
last round and this gave us a big lift forward for the league. We played
well against a difficult team, and then won against Tottenham. We want to do
the same again. It will be a big test. Against Stoke it is always a battle,
a physical and mental battle.
"You always need to be awake, as it is a different style of football. We did
well at Stoke in the league last month and I hope we reproduce that. We have
to make the match all about us. We have bounced back before this season and
we will be working hard to do that once again."
Grant needs Hammers to show progress – and soon
Carling Cup win over Stoke tonight will help West Ham manager buy patience
from club's owners after Saturday's dismal defeat
By Mark Fleming
Wednesday, 27 October 2010
Avram Grant needs to buy himself some time. Again. Saturday's limp home
defeat by Newcastle United brought West Ham United's promising run of five
games unbeaten to a resounding stop.
The home side's meek capitulation betrayed the brittle and fragile nature of
West Ham's confidence. There had been signs of improvement in the past month
during an unbeaten run that included a Premier League victory over
high-flying Tottenham Hotspur in late September that raised hopes of better
things to come. After the worst start to a season in the club's 115-year
history, it was hoped by the Upton Park fans that the result could be the
catalyst for a climb up the league table.
Grant, the West Ham manager, is likely to be given time, despite rumours
that the club's co-owners have privately wondered if they made the right
decision in handing the Israeli the comfort of a four-year contract in May.
Neither David Gold nor David Sullivan have yet to make any kind of public
statement undermining their manager in the way they did last season when the
rookie Gianfranco Zola was in the midst of what proved to be a successful
fight against relegation.
Yet Grant cannot afford to see his team booed off the pitch, as they were
following Saturday's 2-1 defeat to Newcastle, too many times. Tonight's
Carling Cup tie against Stoke City provides Grant and his team the
opportunity to dispel some of the gloom that followed Saturday's poor
second-half performance. However, it is also a dangerous moment: another
defeat could be disastrous for morale, both among supporters and within the
club, with West Ham still bottom of the Premier League and contemplating a
visit to Arsenal on Saturday afternoon.
The stakes are high for co-owners Gold and Sullivan, who admit they have
pumped £30m into the club they bought in January, which has already been
eaten up in trading losses. That is on top of the £50m they jointly spent
buying more than 60 per cent of the shares.
Victory tonight would put West Ham into the last eight of the Carling Cup
and a game away from a lucrative two-legged semi-final with the prospect of
a Wembley final going to the victor. These extra games would provide
much-needed extra revenue to a club that is working hard to avoid becoming
the next Leeds United.
Since Gold and Sullivan took over 10 months ago, West Ham have paid back
£20m to the banks, cut their running costs by £6m and have increased their
income by £2m. A decent cup run would certainly help the vice-chairman
Karren Brady in her endeavours to put the club on a more viable financial
It would also strengthen the position of Grant, who is earning respect
within the club for the steady way he is plotting the team's revival but who
knows he must quickly find a way to convert improvements into victories.
The recent unbeaten run proved as much. West Ham conceded 12 goals in their
opening four Premier League games, all of which they lost, but sorted things
out in training to concede just four in their next four, in which they went
unbeaten. That four-game streak, however, contained one win and three draws,
and at the end of it West Ham still occupied bottom place in the league
At the start of the season, when results were dreadful, Grant appealed for
more time. "After 10 or 15 games we'll have a better idea what the situation
is," the Israeli said following August's 3-0 defeat to Manchester United.
Two months on, and after nine league games and two Carling Cup ties, things
have not measurably improved.
Grant maintains the team is stronger now than it was in the summer. He said:
"We are mentally better. In this subject you can improve a lot. You cannot
take a slow player and make him fast but you can give a player tools and
ideas to be much stronger. I believe in this very much and we have seen it.
We have improved a lot. We will continue to work on this."
Grant remains something of a Marmite figure within the game. Some people
think he is wonderful, and point to his limited success at Chelsea and
Portsmouth as evidence he will turn things around at West Ham. Others claim
he is out of his depth, and cite his record at losing two finals with
Chelsea and his inability to prevent Portsmouth being relegated last season.
Grant received strong support from Gold last week who suggested a change of
manager is the last thing the club's owners want. The fact that West Ham
cannot afford to pay off the manager and his three assistants – Zeljko
Petrovic, Paul Groves and David Coles – certainly increases their job
Gold said: "Avram's under no pressure, he's doing a fantastic job. He came
to a football club that would normally have got relegated, with 35 points.
So really what he has done is take over a relegated club, to all intents and
purposes, and we're building.
"If we were going backwards we would be worried, but every day you can see
this club strengthening under the regime of Avram Grant."
Interesting psychology from Gold, calling West Ham a "relegated club" even
though they finished 17th. It suggests that Gold and Sullivan have been won
over by Grant's argument that it will take time for West Ham to turn the
Yet a busy fixture list next month sees them travel to Arsenal, Birmingham
City and Liverpool while they host West Bromwich Albion, Blackpool and Wigan
Athletic, who have all managed notable victories away from home. Getting out
of this mess will demand all of Grant's managerial nous and talent.
He needs a win tonight to rebuild belief that his team are strong enough to
fight their way out of trouble, and to demonstrate that he is up to the task
of taking West Ham forward. Lose tonight, even on penalties, and that task
will be all the harder.
Tonight Stoke City (H) Carling Cup
Saturday Arsenal (A) Premier League
Sat 6 Nov Birmingham (A) Premier League
Wed 10 Nov WBA (H) Premier League
Sat 13 Nov Blackpool (H) Premier League
Sat 20 Nov Liverpool (A) Premier League
Sat 27 Nov Wigan (H) Premier League
Sun 5 Dec Sunderland (A) Premier League
Sat 11 Dec Manchester City (H) Premier League
Sat 18 Dec Blackburn Rovers (A) Premier League
Sun 26 Dec Fulham (A) Premier League
Tues 28 Dec Everton (H) Premier League
Injury-hit Hammers recall Frank
This Is South Wales
ON-LOAN Swansea City striker Frank Nouble was last night recalled by West
Ham United. Nouble only arrived at the Liberty Stadium in September on a
three-month deal, but he has now returned to Upton Park because the Hammers
have injury concerns in attack. The news is a blow to Brendan Rodgers, who
worked hard to secure the services of the 19-year-old powerhouse. Nouble
heads back to London having made just two starts and four substitute
appearances for Swansea, scoring one goal in the 3-2 win at Watford. His
departure will increase Rodgers's desire to strengthen his forward line. The
Swansea boss was on the hunt for another striker even before Nouble's
recall. As things stand, Swansea have Stephen Dobbie, Craig Beattie, Gorka
Pintado and on-loan Middlesbrough winger Marvin Emnes as options to lead
their attack when they go to Crystal Palace on Saturday.
Please donate to my sisters Kenyan Cycle ride for Women v Cancer