Date:Friday October 27 2006
29th November 2006
The East End is the venue for Rovers` next trip as they look to end what they hope won`t become a bad run of form.
Rovers had gone eight games unbeaten before their capitulation against Bolton at Ewood Park last Sunday and have since lost again at home in the League Cup. Granted that second defeat was against Champions Chelsea, but in football it is often the case that one silly display leads to a down fall.
The current West Ham side know all about down fall. Their stupendously bad form has seen them plummet into the relegation zone at a rate of knots.
After an excellent season last year, Alan Pardew`s men have struggled to re-capture their form despite the sensational acquisitions of two Argentinean superstars. It appears their problem lies in attack where they are considerably lacking any bite.
They continue to be embroiled in take-over talk which seems to be seriously threatening the sides on-field performances.
However, they have to get a result at some point and this will certainly be their best opportunity. They officially hit rock bottom on Tuesday when they were dumped out of the League Cup by a spirited Chesterfield side. Things surely can`t get any worse for them; can they?
Well Rovers arrive at Upton Park off the back of two defeats at home and have a number of injury worries to contend with that will certainly disrupt the harmony at the club. Hughes had his troops drilled in a certain starting line-up and formation and everyone was working well. This could prove to be a very hard fixture.
Mark Hughes on squad options: "We have different options, I can try a number of different things. Aaron Mokoena has done really well when he has come in. Chris (Nonda) hasn`t trained since coming off on Wednesday night, neither has Morten Gamst Pedersen, they are still both a little bit sore."
Christian Daily on West Ham`s fortunes and Rovers: "It is time for us to turn the corner. A couple of wins and we will be shooting up the table. They (Rovers) are a very fit, very physical side, in their manager`s image and they will certainly be looking to get one over us after last season`s games in London."
Alan Pardew on form and Nigel Reo-Coker: "Our captain I`m expecting to lead us on Sunday the way he led us last year with that drive and commitment. I`m hoping we win on Sunday for our fans, for the players, and for the well-being not just for me, but for the chairman right down to the tea-lady at West Ham."
West Ham are definitely without the injured pair of Carlos Tevez and Dean Ashton. However, Teddy Sheringham is likely to shake off a knock in time to be available.
Alan Pardew will also be boosted by the return James Collins, Tyrone Mears, Yossi Benayoun and Lee Bowyer to the squad.
Bobby Zamora, the last person to score a Premiership goal for West Ham is likely to play alongside Marlon Harewood who was such a revelation last season. He ended West Ham`s goal drough by netting in mid week.
West Ham from: Carroll, Green, Walker, Gabbidon, Ferdinand, Konchesky, Spector, Dailly, Pantsil, Mears, McCartney, Benayoun, Mullins, Mascherano, Reo-Coker, Sheringham, Cole, Harewood, Zamora.
He caused Rovers a lot of damage last season and the mercurial veteran still has an eye for goal and remains one of the most technically gifted players in the Premiership. With West Ham`s plight in front of goal worsening it is likely he will be given another chance to shine.
Mark Hughes has a number of issues to contend with before choosing his starting eleven.
Robbie Savage will definitely miss out through the culmination of a ban and injury but Hughes has big concerns over the fitness of Shabani Nonda and Morten Gamst Pedersen.
Both had to leave the pitch early on Wednesday night having suffered knocks against Chelsea. Nonda`s is believed to be more serious making him a huge doubt for the game on Sunday. This will give Jason Roberts the chance to stake a claim for his place and quickly rectify the penalty miss from last weekend.
Gamst hasn`t trained yet since the mid week game but has an outside chance of making the starting eleven. If he doesn`t he will be replaced by Sergio Peter.
Andre Ooijer is back in contention after missing the game against Chelsea due to a knock to the ribs.
Rovers from: Friedel, Neill, Khizanishvili, Tugay, Emerton, Savage, Bentley, Nonda, McCarthy, Pedersen, Mokoena, Jeffers, Gallagher, Ooijer, Brown, Gray, Peter, McEveley, Roberts.
He will be eager to make up for the penalty miss last weekend and is still looking for his first Rovers goal. He has impressed so far this season from the bench. Now he has regained full fitness he will be hoping to make his presence felt and his pacey and physical approach to the game is sure to cause a nervy West Ham defence a few problems.
West Ham are desperate to end a sequence of eight successive defeats, and 11 League and Cup matches without victory - their worst run for 74 years. From 19 March to 10 September 1932 the Hammers played 15 successive winless League games (two draws, 13 defeats). The sequence, bridging two seasons, included a club record run of nine League defeats, and relegation from the top flight. As far as can be established, defeat here would equal the Hammers' club record of successive losses in all competitions.
The Hammers opened last season with a 3-1 home win over Blackburn when the oldest man playing Premiership football, Teddy Sheringham, got his name on the score sheet.
West Ham are targeting their 150th victory all-time in the Premier League and 100th at Upton Park.
West Ham are the only club without a clean sheet in this Premiership season. Not managed a block-out in 10 top flight games, since the 0-1 win at West Brom on 1 May.
Rovers head for East London eager to pile more misery on Alan Pardew's beleaguered side. But they're not without their own problems. Two missed penalties in a 0-1 home loss to Bolton last Saturday, followed by a 0-2 home defeat to Chelsea in the Carling Cup on Wednesday, means Mark Hughes' team need something from this trip to get their season back on track.
Rovers have not suffered back-to-back defeats in 12 Premiership outings, since losing to Liverpool (h) and Birmingham (a) on 16 and 19 April respectively.
Rovers' only maximum at Upton Park in this League was 1-2 on 27 April 1994, when Henning Berg and Ian Pearce were on target.
The only club without a clean sheet in this Premiership season. Not managed a block-out in 10 top flight games, since the 0-1 win at West Brom on 1 May.
Rovers have lost the lead three times in Premiership matches, but dropped only four points from winning positions (drawing home to Everton and away to Liverpool).
Seeking a sixth away game in
Alan Wiley is the official for Sunday`s game. He is another referee, in fact lets clear it up now, all referees hate Blackburn, and he was the gentleman who deemed Todd`s exceptional tackle on the opening day a clear red card offence and he felt it was necessary to send off Lucas Neill. He has brandished 25 yellow cards and 2 reds.
This will be a tough game and the kind of fixture that Alan Pardew and his men would have been wishing for. Had Rovers been approaching this game on the back of a Premiership victory last Sunday then it would be a very different scenario. As it is though, West Ham will certainly fancy their chances. They are due a bit of luck and they could find it in this game. Rovers have an awful record at West Ham and it would appear that will continue. A draw is the best Rovers can hope for but it is more likely that West Ham will come away with the points. 3-1 West Ham.
F C Basel at Ewood Park on Thursday 2nd November 2006
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