Watford cup preview

Carling Cup third round
Watford v West Ham United

Tuesday 23 September
Referee: Peter Walton

WHUTV - Full audio commentary


* West Ham United maintain their bid for League Cup glory away to Watford having won through to this stage with a 4-1 win after extra time against Macclesfield Town on 27 August. The tie will be Watford's third home game in this season's competition, with the Hornets having beaten Bristol Rovers 1-0 in the first round and then triumphing 2-1 after extra time over Darlington on 27 August.

* Gianfranco Zola's side will be full of confidence of securing a fourth-round berth after a 3-1 home win against Newcastle United on Saturday. The Championship club were also in action that day, earning a 2-2 home draw against Reading although the visitors were awarded a controversial opener when the referee's assistant flagged for a goal despite the ball not crossing the line.

* West Ham United have not lost in their last eleven trips to Vicarage Road in all competitions, with eight of those coming as victories. The last reverse was a 5-0 defeat in a top-flight encounter back on 2 April 1985.

* The winners of the tie will be entered into Saturday lunchtime's fourth-round draw, which will be televised on Sky Sports. The next round is due to be played on Wednesday 12 November.

* West Ham United are sixth in the Barclays Premier League with nine points from five games. However, the club have yet to win in two away games this season. Watford are 17th in the 24-team Championship with two wins and a draw from their four home fixtures.

* Gianfranco Zola said: "We have to see how many players are available because some of them were playing with some problems [against Newcastle] but for us the Carling Cup is an important competition. We are going to try and play as well as possible. Freddie [Sears] took his chance [to play] against Newcastle very well. I might consider playing him. It is too early to say.

* Watford manager Adrian Boothroyd said: "We've got a tough period coming up. They're going to be hard games and the lads have given their absolute all. That's all you can ask."

* Watford have two former West Ham United players in Jobi McAnuff and Jon Harley who both played for the club briefly in 2004. Winger McAnuff played 13 games, scoring one goal, while left-back Harley got 15 matches and also found the net once.

* West Ham United reached the fifth round of last season's competition before losing 2-1 to Everton at the Boleyn Ground. Carlton Cole opened the scoring on 12 minutes but Leon Osman equalised just before half-time before a late Yakubu Ayegbeni winner.

* West Ham United have not kept a clean sheet in their last 17 matches dating back to 23 February 2008.

* Only Robert Green, Matthew Upson and Valon Behrami have started every West Ham United game this season, although Julien Faubert and Carlton Cole have also played some part in each of the five fixtures.

* West Ham United are next in top-flight action on Saturday 27 September away to Fulham.

Last time out

Saturday 20 September - West Ham United 3-1 Newcastle United
West Ham United: Green, Behrami, Upson, Neill, Ilunga, Faubert, Noble, Parker (Mullins 72), Etherington (Boa Morte 73), Di Michele, Cole (Sears 87)
Subs not used: Lastuvka, Lopez, Davenport, Reid
Goals: Di Michele 8, 37, Etherington 53

Saturday 20 September - Watford 2-2 Reading
Watford: Poom (Loach 4), Mariappa, Bromby, DeMerit, Harley, Eustace, McAnuff (Ainsworth 34), Williamson, O'Toole (Bangura 78), Smith, Hoskins
Subs not used: Young, Jenkins
Goals: Smith 57, O'Toole 64.

Team news

* Carlton Cole will be rested after a minor foot problem suffered against Newcastle United and will join Dean Ashton (ankle) and Craig Bellamy (hamstring) in missing out.

* Freddie Sears could be in contention for only his second start of the season while a number of other youth-team graduates are also in the frame for the 18-man squad including Marek Stech, Bondz 'Gala, Jack Collison, Kyel Reid and Junior Stanislas.

* Zola has indicated though that he will put out a strong starting eleven with the competition being afforded plenty of importance, with Herita Ilunga and David Di Michele in line for their first appearance in English cup competition. Walter Lopez could also make his first senior appearance.

* Mart Poom will miss out on the tie with a dislocated shoulder suffered early on Saturday while former Hammers winger Jobi McAnuff is also a major doubt with a back problem. Scott Loach and Lionel Ainsworth could deputise respectively. 

* Two key midfielders are on the sidelines in Damien Francis and Gareth Williams, with both having knee troubles. 

* In attack, Tamas Priskin, Theo Robinson and Grzegorz Rasiak are still out while their weekend goalscorer John-Joe O'Toole is also a doubt with a knock. Watford's injury problems mean their 18-man squad will likely include every fit first-team player.


* The last meeting of the clubs came on 10 February 2007 in the Barclays Premier League, when a 12th-minute penalty by Darius Henderson was all that separated the sides.

The lineups were:

West Ham United: Green, Neill (Spector 32) ,Ferdinand ,Davenport, McCartney, Benayoun, Reo-Coker, Quashie (Boa Morte 80), Etherington, Harewood, Zamora (Tevez 46)
Subs not used: Carroll, Dailly

Watford: Foster, Mariappa, De Merit, Mackay, Stewart, Smith, Mahon, Francis, Cavalli (Bangura 75), Henderson (Shittu 89), Kabba (Ashikodi 79)
Subs not used: Priskin, Hoskins

* West Ham United - in 1966 and 1981 to West Bromwich Albion and Liverpool respectively - have twice reached the League Cup final but have never triumphed. Watford have twice been semi-finalists, in 1979 and 2005.

* The only previous League Cup encounter came at the same stage of the 1986/87 edition, when West Ham United won 3-2 at Vicarage Road on 29 October 1986. Goals from Paul Goddard, Alan Dickens and Mark Ward ensured victory for John Lyall's team in a thrilling cup tie.

Head to head (last six meetings, league unless stated)

10 February 2007 - West Ham United 0-1 Watford
27 January 2007 - West Ham United 0-1 Watford (FA Cup)
22 August 2008 - Watford 1-1 West Ham United
8 May 2005 - Watford 1-2 West Ham United
27 November 2004 - West Ham United 3-2 Watford
1 May 2005 - West Ham United 4-0 Watford

Overall record v Watford (all competitions): W 23, D 5, L 7

Carling Cup fixtures (all 7.45pm unless stated)

Tuesday 23 September

Arsenal v Sheffield United
Burnley v Fulham
Leeds United v Hartlepool United
Liverpool v Crewe Alexandra (8pm)
Manchester United v Middlesbrough (8pm)
Rotherham United v Southampton
Stoke City v Reading
Sunderland v Northampton Town
Swansea City v Cardiff City

Wednesday 24 September

Aston Villa v Queen's Park Rangers
Blackburn Rovers v Everton (8pm)
Brighton v Manchester City
Ipswich Town v Wigan Athletic
Newcastle United v Tottenham Hotspur
Portsmouth v Chelsea

General information

For ticket information, click here. For details of getting to Vicarage Road, click here

Weather: The forecast is for a cloudy, overcast evening. The temperature is set to peak at around 12 degrees.