West Ham V Boro - Head-to-head

Tomas Repka Ugo Ehiogu APPEARANCESMinutes on pitch1670 1765 GOAL ATTEMPTSGoals0 0 DEFENDINGBlocks26 31 Headed Clearances141 170 Other Clearances89 77 Interceptions15 11 Tackles Won36 28 PASSINGPassing Accuracy %78% 79% DISCIPLINEFouls25 23 Yellow Cards4 2 Red Cards2 1 OPTA INDEX SCORE873 843 First Goalscorer Odds50/1 25/1 Secure, tax-free online betting with www.surreySPORTS.co.uk Tomas Repka Ugo Ehiogu

East Londoner Ugo Ehiogu returns to his roots on Saturday afternoon with his Middlesbrough team-mates when the Teessiders visit West Ham hoping to preserve their eight-match unbeaten run.

Ehiogu, who was born in nearby Hackney, had a miserable trip to Upton Park last season when he was sent off in only his fourth appearance for Boro whilst the club were deeply submerged in relegation bother.

However this time round - the defender who has blocked 29 shots this season, the third-most in the Premiership behind Derby duo Danny Higginbotham and Chris Riggott - will be hoping for a more successful afternoon especially against a side who are just behind Boro on goal difference in the league.

In the Hammers' rearguard will be uncompromising defender Tomas Repka. The controversial Czech ace has had a mixed start to his career in England and was actually reluctant to join the club after claiming he was settled at Fiorentina.

Nevertheless on initial outings the Italian side are in dire financial straits and were forced to sell. It may be argued that the Violas actually got a good deal in persuading the Hammers to shell out £5.5 million for the rugged hardman.

Repka looked like a poor acquisition when he was sent off twice in his first three appearances for the club including a dismissal on his debut at Middlesbrough as the Hammers crashed to a 2-0 defeat

However to his credit, the 28-year-old has bounced back since that early disappointment and has been particularly impressive on home soil, where the team have conceded just five goals since his arrival.

Boro centre forwards Alen Boksic and Benito Carbone may find the West Ham defence difficult to penetrate especially as Repka has made 15 interceptions, just behind ever-present Sebastian Schemmel's total of 17.

Repka has also won more challenges than his rival Ehiogu has managed, winning eight more tackles despite spending less time on pitch than the Boro man. But if you think that the Teessiders can record their first win in the capital this season, then a 3/1 flutter looks like it might be worth investing a few quid.

And with Ehiogu said to be keen on a career in the stock market after he finishes playing football, your money should be in safe hands with Boro.

Benji Romaner