IT'S a youthful looking squad for the visit of Sunderland to Upton Park this evening, but the Hammers are boosted by the return to fitness of Sergei Rebrov after two months out with a calf problem.
For such a crucial fixture, it is an impressive sight to see the names of five Academy graduates in the first-team squad - Anton Ferdinand, Elliott Ward, Stephen Bywater and Mark Noble joined by Hogan Ephraim, who is the only one of the group yet to make his first-team debut.
Noble has fully recovered from a jarred knee and will be back competing for a place in Alan Pardew's midfield, which is without Steve Lomas and Gavin Williams, who both have calf injuries.
The absence of Teddy Sheringham will be the most worrying for Hammers fans, the 21-goal striker unavailable due to a pulled hamstring he sustained at Brighton. Bobby Zamora is set to replace him in attack after impressing in his appearances from the bench in recent weeks.
Pards is set to name an unchanged back-line, with Christian Dailly and Malky Mackay both out with calf strains. Don Hutchison is absent due to a knee problem.
The team to face Sunderland will be chosen from the following squad:
Bywater (GK), Walker (GK), Repka, Mullins, Powell, Etherington, Reo-Coker, Chadwick, Ephraim, Fletcher, Ferdinand, Harewood, Zamora, Rebrov, Newton, Noble, Ward.
West Ham United v Sunderland at Upton Park, kick-off 7.45pm. Live on Sky TV.
Squad To Face Sunderland