Pards Plots Revenge On Blades

HAMMERS will be hoping to take some sweet revenge on Sheffield United in the FA Cup Fourth Round this weekend.

After the Blades' 2-0 Championship win at Upton Park recently, Alan Pardew's squad are sure to be in competitive mood when Neil Warnock's team visit tomorrow as they look to claim the scalp of one of the FA Cup's trickiest opponents.

"The Cup is a one off game and will bring a different kind of atmosphere, which players look forward to," explained Alan Pardew.

"It's a change from the League programme, but no one will be taking this competition likely, as the players proved with the tremendous effort they put in to beat Norwich City in the last round.

"The Club needs a win right now and we're determined to get a good result on Saturday. The League is our main concern, and we really need to get it right before we go back to Championship duty next weekend against Cardiff.

"The FA Cup is a great chance for us to find our form again and also gain a bit of revenge over Sheffield United. We played poorly when they came here in the League, but it'll be a different story on Saturday. Everyone is looking forward to the game and it should be a great Cup-tie."

Neil Warnock's Sheffield United are a notoriously difficult team to beat in Cup competitions, as their victims in the last round, Aston Villa, will testify. The Blades also have an enviable record away from home this season, and Pards knows his team will have to fight for everything at Upton Park tomorrow.

"Sheffield United have one of the best defensive records around," he said, "and away from home they can be very difficult to break down.

"In the last game, although we didn't perform, I think a lot of credit has to go to the way they played. Neil Warnock said it was one of the best performances of his managerial career, and they made it really tough for us to play.

"But it won't be like that again. We're expecting them to come with a similar game plan and we'll be more armed this time to go out and cause them the problems that we didn't manage to do in the last game.

"Neil Warncok has a very good record in the Cups and he has a very good side at Sheffield United, with perhaps more ability than they're given credit for.

"But we were really disappointed with the way we performed against them last time and that is a big motivating factor for us. He want to give our fans something to cheer about on Saturday, pay them back for a couple of bad results recently and start to find our rhythm again."

Pards admits that the team have found their high notes difficult to hit at Upton Park of late, with a lack of confidence perhaps afflicting his team in front of their home crowds. That is why the Hammers boss has called for his players to give big performances and prove their quality in front of the Upton Park faifthful.

"There's been an edginess to our football, especially at home," he confessed, "and that's something we're looking to banish this weekend.

"It's given us a problem at the back, which were highlighted against Derby when we gave away two sloppy goals. That won't be happening again.

"The defending is something we've been working on in training this week. We've got experienced defenders in the side like Tomas Repka, Malky Mackay and Chris Powell and we shouldn't be giving away soft goals with those kind of players in our team.

"Hopefully, we've sorted out any technical issues, the players will go into the game confident of their ability to defend solidly and that tension in our play will be released."

Teddy Sheringham looks set to be recalled to the startling line-up after an absence of five games with an ankle injury. Pards admits the experience of the former England striker will help to settle any Upton Park nerves.

"Teddy's presence is very important to this young team," he said. "He is a quality player and we've missed his intelligence and assurance on the ball in recent matches.

"He'll have an important role to play tomorrow and it'll be good to have him back.

"A win in the FA Cup will really help to lift the Club, but we need the fans on our side. We all want the same thing - success for West Ham United - and with everyone pulling in the same direction I'm sure we have the ability to achieve that."