Match preview v Birmingham City
Squad news: Alan Pardew has named an unchanged
20-man squad for the visit of Birmingham City tonight, as Hammers
attempt to secure a fifth successive Premiership victory and
seventh straight win in all competitions. Defender Danny Gabbidon
is included despite facing a late fitness test, while goalkeeper
Roy Carroll is still absent with a back injury.
Squad to face Birmingham City: Hislop, Bywater, Dailly, Scaloni, Konchesky, Clarke, Gabbidon, Ferdinand, Collins, Mullins, Reo-Coker, Fletcher, Newton, Etherington, Benayoun, Harewood, Zamora, Sheringham, Ashton, Katan.
Birmingham, meanwhile, are set to be without at least six first-team regulars due to injury and suspension. Defenders Matthew Upson, Martin Taylor and Oliver Tebily are all ruled out through injury, as are midfielders David Dunn, Muzzy Izzet and Neil Kilkenny, while Emile Heskey and Damien Johnson serve the final game of their respective suspensions. Steve Bruce is likely to pair Chris Sutton and Mikael Forssell in attack, and former Hammer Stan Lazaridis will also be hoping for a taste of the action.
Stat attack: A Hammers win tonight would take Alan Pardew's men to 41 points after 26 games and signal our best-ever points tally at this stage of the season in the Premiership - the previous best being 39 during the 1997-98 campaign.
Three points would also equal our record of successive wins in the Premiership - five in a row against Coventry City, Nottingham Forest, Tottenham, Chelsea and Newcastle in February 1996. It would also signal our seventh successive victory in all competitions - a feat last achieved in the record-breaking 1985-86 season.
Tonight's game also marks Matthew Etherington's 100th league appearance for the Hammers, while Marlon Harewood will be dreaming of another hat-trick in front of the live Sky TV cameras that would take him to 50 goals for the Club in all competitions.
Previous meetings: Birmingham City's visit tonight is their first trip to Upton Park since October 2002, when a double strike from Stern John secured a 2-1 victory in their first-ever season in the Premiership. The campaign ended with the bitter taste of relegation for Hammers, as a 2-2 draw in the return fixture at St Andrews on the final day condemned us to the drop.
The 2002-03 clashes were the first league encounters between the two teams for 10 years, when Hammers secured the 'double' over the Blues with a 3-1 victory at home and a 2-1 win away during our First Division promotion-winning campaign in 1992-93.
The only meeting during that 10-year gap was a League Cup fourth round tie at St Andrews in November 1999, when goals from Steve Lomas, Paul Kitson and Joe Cole - his first in senior football - sealed a 3-2 victory.
Our all-time league record against Birmingham City at Upton Park reads as follows: P38 W15 D9 L14 F71 A51
Place a bet: West Ham United's official betting partner, Bet24, are offering some attractive odds to Hammers fans wishing to take a gamble on the match against Birmingham City this evening.
A £10 bet on...
Hammers to score more than 2.5 goals pays £20.00
Hammers to win to nil pays £27.50
Hammers to win and Ashton to score first pays £70.00
Hammers to win from behind pays £100.00
Hammers to win 2-1 and Ashton to score pays £150.00
If you have not registered with Bet24 yet, it simple to do. Anyone who does register a new account and deposits just £10 will also receive a FREE £24 to spend online.
There are 4 easy steps to qualify for your £24 free bet:
1. Click onto the Bet24 link below
2. Click on the banner to the right of the next page that says "register here"
3. Register your details and open your account - minimum deposit is £10
4. Within 12 hours you will receive your free £24 bet on your account
You will be able to use your account to bet on any sport or match on the Bet24 website especially all matches involving West Ham United, where a separate sub site has been created just for Hammers fans. The subsite will provide you with some unique bets that you would not see anywhere else on the web. Participants must be 18 or over, all bonuses paid into betting accounts by bet24 must be staked 3 times before they can be withdrawn.
Click here to go to the Bet24 site