Birmingham City match preview

Boleyn Ground
Saturday 9 February
Referee: Mark Clattenburg

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Team news

Tenth-placed West Ham United will look to bounce back from the 1-0 defeat at Wigan Athletic last Saturday with a fourth home league win in a row. The club have dispatched Manchester United (2-1), Fulham (2-1) and Liverpool (1-0) and have not lost at the Boleyn Ground since 15 December. Victory could potentially move the club up to eighth place and in sight of sixth, but Alan Curbishley will know Birmingham City, who have fallen to 18th after Saturday's 1-1 home draw against Derby County, will look to follow Wigan's lead in the fight for top-flight survival.

Alan Curbishley will assess Julien Faubert after he played the full 90 minutes on Monday in a friendly match against QPR. The French winger had missed the previous two games with a slight calf strain and the manager could wait to give him a reserve-team run-out on Tuesday. Nolberto Solano, a substitute at Wigan, also got another 45 minutes under his belt following hamstring trouble. Bobby Zamora (knee) and Craig Bellamy (stomach) both got an hour or so on Monday.

Scott Parker (knee) is due back in three weeks while Kieron Dyer continues to make good progress from his double leg-break. Henri Camara is back from the African Cup of Nations - although John Pantsil is still on international duty with Ghana. James Collins' cruciate ligament damage will keep him out for at least six months, with Nigel Quashie (foot) and Calum Davenport (neck) also sidelined. The club's talented youngsters performed well in midweek, notably James Tomkins and Freddie Sears with England U19s, Mark Noble with England Under-21s and Jack Collison with Wales U21, the latter also scoring.

Birmingham, who had Fabrice Muamba and Cameron Jerome alongside Noble for the Young Lions on Wednesday, were busy in the transfer window, notably bringing in Everton striker James McFadden, Hibernian defender David Murphy and Argentinian prodigy Mauro Zarate up front. The club also have Radhi Jaidi and Mehdi Nafti back from the Africa Cup of Nations after Tunisia's exit. Birmingham have Franck Quedrue (hamstring) out injured - along with knee victim Borja Oubina although Olivier Kapo is suspended after accumulating five cautions. Gary McSheffrey or Daniel De Ridder will deputise on the left.

Last time out

West Ham United v Wigan Athletic: Green, Neill, Ferdinand, Upson, McCartney, Ljungberg, Noble (Bowyer 73), Mullins, Etherington (Solano 48), Cole (Bellamy 68), Ashton
Subs not used: Wright, Spector
Birmingham City v Derby County: Maik Taylor, Kelly, Martin Taylor, Ridgewell, Murphy, Larsson (Zarate 76), Johnson, Muamba, Kapo, O'Connor, McFadden
Subs not used: Doyle, Forssell, Jerome, Parnaby


Curbishley's side are in fine league form, with seven wins and five draws from the last 16 fixtures. Victory could take the Hammers up to eighth - depending on Blackburn Rovers and Portsmouth, who begin the weekend three and two points ahead respectively. The club are seven points ahead of Tottenham Hotspur in eleventh, with a game in hand on every other club in the division bar Liverpool.

The teams' last met on 18 August at the St Andrews, the first away fixture of the season. After a close-fought encounter, Mark Noble struck the only goal of the game from the penalty spot in the 70th minute after Colin Doyle had upended Bellamy.

The lineups were:
West Ham United: Green, Spector (Gabbidon 86), Ferdinand, Upson, McCartney, Dyer, Noble, Mullins, Etherington, Zamora, Bellamy
Subs not used: Walker, Bowyer, Boa Morte, Ashton

Birmingham City: Doyle, Parnaby, Jaidi, Ridgewell, Kelly, Larsson, Muamba (Sadler 80), Nafti (Jerome 75), Kapo, O'Connor, Forssell (McSheffrey 65)
Subs not used: Maik Taylor, Vine

The Hammers have still not lost in all eleven league games this season when they have taken the lead. George McCartney - who like Lucas Neill, Mark Noble and Luis Boa Morte is on four cautions and would earn a one-match ban if yellow-carded again before the trip to Fulham on 23 February - is bidding to make his 31th appearance this season in all competitions. He is the only West Ham United player who has featured in every game to date, starting in each one.

In terms of the Premier League, only Green and Upson have played every minute of the 24 matches. No other top-flight club still has two league ever-presents while Upson, along with Stephen Kelly of Birmingham, is one of only two outfield players in the whole division to have achieved that feat. Ashton, with six goals, five in the league, is the club's leading scorer.

Birmingham have not won since a 3-0 home win against Middlesbrough on 26 December - a run of seven games without victory, including the 2-1 loss at Huddersfield Town in the FA Cup third round. However, they did earn a 1-1 draw at Arsenal on 12 January and only lost 1-0 at home to Chelsea a week later. Their last away victory was the 3-2 success at Tottenham Hotspur on 2 December - Alex McLeish's first game in charge.
Kapo and Jerome are the club's leading scorers with five goals apiece, all of which have come in the top flight. The midlands club may have lost their last three games against the Hammers but they have the better overall head to head record.

Head to head (last six meetings, all league)

18 August 2007 - Birmingham City 0-1 West Ham United
13 February 2006 - West Ham United 3-0 Birmingham City
5 December 2005 - Birmingham City 1-2 West Ham United
11 May 2003 - Birmingham City 2-2 West Ham United
5 October 2002 - West Ham United 1-2 Birmingham City
30 November 1999 - Birmingham City 2-3 West Ham United

Overall record v Birmingham City (all competitions): W 30, D 18, L 37

Barclays Premier League fixtures (all 3pm unless stated)

Saturday 9 February
Aston Villa v Newcastle (12.45pm)
Bolton Wanderers v Portsmouth
Derby County v Tottenham Hotspur
Everton v Reading
Middlesbrough v Fulham
Sunderland v Wigan

Sunday 10 February
Chelsea v Liverpool (4pm)
Manchester United v Manchester City (1.30pm)

General information

Please note this match is SOLD OUT. For ticket information, click here. For details of getting to the Boleyn Ground, click here
Weather: The forecast is for a sunny afternoon with the temperature is set to peak at around 11C.