Blackburn Rovers match preview

Barclays Premier League
Boleyn Ground
Saturday 15 March
Referee: Peter Walton

WHUTV - Pre-match press conference, plus live commentary to come
WESTHAM.WAP.COM - All the news, on the move


* West Ham United, tenth in the Barclays Premier League, welcome Blackburn Rovers to the Boleyn Ground with the chance to move to within three points of their eighth-placed visitors.

* Alan Curbishley's men are determined to recover from three straight 4-0 defeats by Chelsea, Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur and are still five points ahead of eleventh-placed Spurs. 

* West Ham United had not lost in their previous six home games before the visit of Chelsea a fortnight ago.

* United have won eight and drawn one of the last nine league meetings at the Boleyn Ground. Including three cup games, Blackburn have not won in any of the last 12 visits to east London with the last success being a 2-1 win on 27 April 1994.

* Speaking to, West Ham United midfielder Scott Parker said: "It's going to be a tough game, there's no doubting that. We've come out of a tough run and confidence may be a little bit low on our side, Blackburn have been doing really well, but we're at home and I fully expect us to go and win the game."

* Blackburn midfielder Steven Reid said: "We're just worried about ourselves. These last nine games, every one of them is going to be a cup final. We've got a tough game this weekend at West Ham and over recent seasons we haven't done ourselves justice there. Hopefully we can get a win down there and turn the Fulham result around."

Last match

Tottenham Hotspur 4-0 West Ham United (9 March): Green, Neill, Ferdinand, Spector, McCartney, Ljungberg (Pantsil 71), Mullins, Parker (Noble 76), Boa Morte, Zamora, Ashton (Cole 77).
Subs not used: Wright, Solano
Goals: Berbatov 8, 11, Gilberto 85, Bent 90

Blackburn Rovers 1-1 Fulham (8 March): Friedel, Ooijer, Samba, Khizanishvili, Warnock, Bentley, Reid, Kerimoglu (Roberts 57), Pedersen, Santa Cruz, McCarthy (Derbyshire 56).
Subs not used: Brown, Mokoena, Dunn
Goals: Pedersen 59, Bullard 89

Team news

* Matthew Upson is not certain to be back after missing out on the Tottenham game with a calf injury suffered at Liverpool on 5 March. Jonathan Spector had deputised against Spurs. The US international flies to Nashville, Tennessee after this game to join up with his country's Olympic squad for a Beijing qualifying tournament.

* After starting against Tottenham, Alan Curbishley could have Parker in contention for a first home start since the win against Manchester United on 29 December. Parker, who picked up a knee injury unrelated to the previous problem in the summer when Cristiano Ronaldo fell on him, played 75 minutes at Spurs and came through with no issues.

* Fit-again after a long-term knee injury that had kept him out since 28 August, Bobby Zamora made his first start against Tottenham. He had previously played in three official reserve-team matches, scoring three goals, before two substitute appearances with the senior side. Dean Ashton partnered Zamora before the latter had to be switched to the left wing to cover for the dismissed Luis Boa Morte.

* Boa Morte is suspended.

* Julien Faubert is back in training after picking up a knock in a challenge by Chelsea's Claude Makelele a fortnight ago. It is thought the game will be too soon for him. Nolberto Solano replaced him at Liverpool before Freddie Ljungberg took the right-wing berth at Tottenham.

* Lee Bowyer has trained fully for the past week after a groin problem but Matthew Etherington is still out.

* Kieron Dyer also continues to make progress from his double leg-break. James Collins (cruciate knee ligaments) and Calum Davenport (neck) will not return this season.

* Craig Bellamy has had an abdominal strengthening operation and has been ruled out until April at the earliest. Danny Gabbidon (groin) is also some way off a first-team return as is Nigel Quashie (foot).

* Also in the manager's thoughts are some in-form youngsters from the reserves - namely Kyel Reid, Jack Collison and Freddie Sears, who did not play for the Under-18s on Friday. James Tomkins is training again after a slight groin problem and is also in contention.

* For Blackburn, Ryan Nelsen (hamstring) and David Dunn (calf) have had injury problems of late, although the latter was an unused substitute against Fulham a week ago and has come through a week of training. Brett Emerton also missed out entirely on the Fulham fixture because of a groin injury but is back in contention.


* After 29 games last season, West Ham United had half the points (20) they have achieved from the same number of matches this campaign (40).

* West Ham United met Blackburn with nine games to go last season as well. The 2-1 away win on 17 March 2007 was the first of seven wins from the final nine fixtures and proved pivotal to the club's survival fight.  The victory, secured after Carlos Tevez's penalty and Zamora's controversial winner cancelled out Christopher Samba's goal, also came straight after a defeat by Tottenham.

* West Ham United and Blackburn last met on 9 December 2007 at Ewood Park. A tight contest was settled by Ashton's close-range strike on 52 minutes, just seven minutes after he entered as a half-time substitute.

The lineups were:

Blackburn Rovers: Friedel, Emerton, Samba, Ooijer, Warnock, Dunn (Reid 70 ), Mokoena (Savage 46) ,Tugay ,Pedersen (Roberts 76 ), Santa Cruz , McCarthy
Subs not used: Brown, Derbyshire

West Ham United: Green, Neill, Gabbidon, Upson, McCartney, Solano, Parker, Mullins, Etherington (Ashton 46), Cole (Camara 88), Boa Morte
Subs not used: Wright, Noble,

* Last season's meeting at the Boleyn Ground fell on 29 October 2006 when Teddy Sheringham, who announced this week he was retiring at the end of the season, struck the opener in the 21st minute. Hayden Mullins then converted on 80 minutes before a David Bentley consolation at the death.

* The Hammers have still not lost in all 14 league games this season when they have taken the lead.

* Robert Green has kept eight clean sheets in 29 league games.

* Lucas Neill turned 30 last Sunday.

* George McCartney is bidding to make his 36th appearance this season in all competitions. He has not missed a match since the 4-3 home defeat by Tottenham Hotspur on 4 March 2007 - 44 games ago.

* McCartney is the only West Ham United player who has featured in every league and cup game to date, starting in each one.

* In terms of the Premier League, only Green has played every minute of the 29 matches after fellow Upson was forced off with a calf strain against Liverpool.

* Carlton Cole is two cautions away from a ban after his eighth yellow card of the season at Liverpool, when Lucas Neill and Mark Noble each picked up their fifth. The 'one-match ban for five cautions' rule was for all yellow cards up to the end of February. However, a player receiving ten cautions before the end of the second Sunday in April will be suspended for two matches, starting seven days after the tenth offence.

* Brad Friedel is the only Blackburn player who has played in every Premier League game this season. He, like Green, has also not missed a minute.

* Ashton, with six goals, five in the league, is the club's leading scorer. Roque Santa Cruz with eleven, and 15 overall, is Blackburn's leading top-flight marksman.

* Neill will be up against the club where he made 227 appearances between September 2001 and January 2007.

* Blackburn have used just 21 players in the top flight this season. No team has used fewer with Aston Villa also having called upon the same number. West Ham United have featured 26 different members of the squad to date.

* West Ham United will next be in action on Saturday 22 March when they go to Everton for a 5.15pm kick-off, live on Setanta Sports. Blackburn welcome Wigan Athletic for a 3pm fixture.

Head to head (Last six Premier League meetings)

9 December 2007 - Blackburn Rovers 0-1 West Ham United
17 March 2007 - Blackburn Rovers 1-2 West Ham United
29 October 2006 - West Ham United 2-1 Blackburn Rovers
10 December 2005 - Blackburn Rovers 3-2 West Ham United
13 August 2005 - West Ham United 3-1 Blackburn Rovers
29 January 2003 - West Ham United 2-1 Blackburn Rovers

Overall record v Blackburn (all competitions): W 39, D 16, L 45

General information

Tickets: For ticket information, click here. For details of getting to the Boleyn Ground, click here

Weather: The forecast is for an overcast afternoon with rain. The temperature is set to peak at around 12C.

* Essex FM are sponsoring the game and will be providing pre-match and half-time entertainment. Watch out for the radio station's Thunders crew who will be helping to make the day go with a bang.

* Fans who buy the matchday programme can get their hands on four special vouchers, featuring special offers.