Blackburn match preview

Blackburn Rovers v West Ham United
Barclays Premier League
Ewood Park
Saturday 29 August 2009
Referee: Phil Dowd - Live text updates I WHUTV - Live audio commentary


• West Ham United will look to make it two away wins from two this season with the trip to face Blackburn Rovers on Saturday. The Hammers were 2-0 winners at Wolverhampton Wanderers a fortnight ago after Mark Noble and Matthew Upson scored in each half.

• Since then, Gianfranco Zola's side lost 2-1 at home to Tottenham Hotspur last Sunday - with Carlton Cole putting the Hammers in front - before needing extra time to see off Millwall 3-1 in the Carling Cup second round. The Lions were defeated thanks to two goals from Junior Stanislas and a decisive third from Zavon Hines.

• Blackburn Rovers have lost their first two league outings this season. On the opening day they were beaten 2-0 at home by Manchester City before losing 2-1 at Sunderland last Saturday despite Gael Givet's early goal.

• Last Wednesday, Rovers won 3-1 at Gillingham in the Carling Cup second round thanks to goals from David Hoiland, David Dunn and Morten Gamst Pedersen.

• Both teams will learn their Carling Cup third-round opponents in Saturday lunchtime's draw, which will be televised on Sky Sports. The next round is due to be played in the week commencing Monday 21 September.

• Before the 1-1 draw at Ewood Park on 21 March 2009, West Ham hade won their previous six matches against Blackburn in all competitions, including victories on each of their previous two visits to Ewood Park. Rovers have not beaten the Hammers since 10 December 2005.

In that last meeting Mark Noble's 35th-minute opener was cancelled out by Keith Andrews' equaliser six minutes half-time. The lineups on 21 March were:

Blackburn Rovers: Robinson, Ooijer (Andrews 46), Samba, Nelsen, Givet, Diouf, Mokoena, Warnock, Pedersen, McCarthy, Roberts
Subs not used: Brown, Tugay, Dunn, Khizanishvili, Villanueva, Treacy

West Ham United: Green, Neill, Tomkins, Spector, Ilunga, Noble, Parker, Kovac, Boa Morte (Lopez 79), Tristan (Payne 89), Di Michele (Dyer 82)
Subs not used: Lastuvka, Sears, 'Gala, Stanislas

• This is the 93nd league meeting between the two sides. Blackburn have won 42, West Ham have won 38 and there have been 12 draws.

• Zola made his debut in English football at Ewood Park on 16 November 1996. The Italian was part of the Chelsea team that drew 1-1 with Blackburn that day.

West Ham United

• West Ham United have started their Barclays Premier League season with a win and a defeat. An impressive 2-0 win on the opening day of the campaign was followed by a narrow 2-1 home defeat by Tottenham Hotspur last Sunday.

• Three players, Mark Noble, Matthew Upson and Carlton Cole have got on the scoresheet for the Hammers so far this season.

• Gianfranco Zola said of new signing Allesandro Diamanti: "He is a very talented player and he can play in the hole. He can play one side or the other. He is an offensive player and very skilful. His speciality is free-kicks and he has a very good left foot. He is a good player and where I play him I don't know. I have some ideas but I am waiting to see how he will fit in the team."

• The Hammers finished last season in ninth in the Barclays Premier League with 51 points, a place and two points higher than they managed in the previous season.

• Carlton Cole was West Ham's leading scorer last season with ten Premier League goals, one in the FA Cup and one in the League Cup.

• Robert Green topped the appearance charts for the last campaign, playing every minute of every Premier League game. He has played 90 consecutive top-flight matches.

• West Ham's biggest ever away win at Blackburn Rovers came in Division One on 22 September 1962. Then, the Hammers won 4-0 at Ewood Park. Geoff Hurst gave the visitors a 35th-minute lead before Malcolm Musgrove, Johnny Byrne and Martin Peters added further goals in the second half in front of a crowd of 15,400.

• West Ham have scored in every league and cup meeting with Blackburn since 2000. The last time they failed to hit the back of the net was in October 1998, when they lost 3-0 at Ewood Park.

• The Hammers sit on 699 Premier League points, meaning at least a draw on Saturday would see them leap over the 700 point mark.

• James Collins made his 50th league start for West Ham against Tottenham Hotspur on his birthday last week. If the Wales international plays against Blackburn it will be the 100th league start of his career.

Last time out

West Ham United
Carling Cup, Tuesday 25 August 2009
West Ham United 3-1 Millwall
West Ham United: Green, Faubert, Gabbidon, Tomkins, Spector, Collison, Parker, Kovac (Nouble 62), Payne (Hines 46) , Cole (Upson 109), Stanislas Subs not used: Kurucz, Collins, Daprela, Lee
Goals: Stanislas 87, 98 (pen), Hines 100

Blackburn Rovers

• Blackburn's biggest-ever home win over West Ham came on 14 October 2001. Rovers secured a 7-1 victory that day, with Garry Flitcroft, David Dunn, Damien Johnson, Tugay, Matt Jansen, Craig Hignett and a Chris McCann own-goal all on target for Blackburn. Michael Carrick netted West Ham's consolation goal. Former West Ham captain Lucas Neill was part of the Blackburn team that day.

• Blackburn's last home win over West Ham came on 10 December 2005. Rovers won 3-2 with goals from Paul Dickov (two) and Shefki Kuqi. West Ham scored through Bobby Zamora and Marlon Harewood.

• Sam Allardyce said: "A few players are going to be missing. We have to try and get through the West Ham game and try to win it. Then there's an international break and obviously the people who are injured won't be travelling with their international sides."

• Gael Givet's goal against Sunderland last week was the first Rovers have scored in 392 Premier League minutes.

• Since Sam Allardyce took over at Ewood Park, Rovers have lost only two of a dozen games at home.

• If selected El Hadji Diouf will be making his 200th Premier League appearance, while Christopher Samba could make his 100th start in a Blackburn shirt.

Last time out

Carling Cup, Tuesday 25 August 2009
Gillingham 1-3 Blackburn Rovers
Blackburn Rovers: Brown, Reid (Grella ,46), Khizanishvili, Givet, Olsson, Dunn (Van Heerden 59), Andrews, Pedersen, 'Zonzi, Hoilett, Kalinic (Roberts 46)
Subs not used: Fielding,Jacobsen,Warnock,Jones,
Goals: Dunn 5, Hoilett 47, Pedersen 74


• Saturday's referee is Phil Dowd.

• Dowd began refereeing in 1984 before graduating to the Staffordshire Senior League and Midland Football Alliance.

• He joined the Football League list of assistant referees in 1992 before joining the list of referees in 1997.

• Dowd was promoted to the Barclays Premier League list of referees in 2001. This is his ninth season as a top-flight referee.

• He was the fourth official at the 2006 FA Cup final between West Ham United and Liverpool at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium.

• Dowd took charge of five West Ham matches last season, most notably the 3-1 home victory over Newcastle United on 20 September, Gianfranco Zola's first match as Hammers manager. Dowd was also the man in the middle for West Ham's home matches against Arsenal, Fulham and Manchester United and the penultimate game of the season away at Everton.

Old boys

• Among the other players who have represented both clubs are Fred Blackburn, Martin Britt, John Burton, Herman Conway, Christian Dailly, Tony Gale, Tommy Hampson, Harry Hindle, Matty Holmes, Marc Keller, Bob Morris, Lucas Neill, Ian Pearce, Bob Pride, Syd Puddefoot, John Radford, Robbie Slater, Matthew Smailes, Percy Smith and Lionel Watson.

Last six meetings

21 March 2009 Blackburn Rovers 1-1 West Ham United
30 August 2008 West Ham United 4-1 Blackburn Rovers
15 March 2008 West Ham United 2-1 Blackburn Rovers
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

Overall record v Blackburn Rovers (all competitions) W 41 D 17 L 45

Team news

• Alessandro Diamanti will not figure as the club awaits international clearance. Mark Noble, Kieron Dyer and Luis Jimenez are all in the manager's thoughts though as only Dean Ashton (ankle), Luis Boa Morte (knee) and Savio (virus) were not in training at Chadwell Heath on Friday. There is no return date for Ashton, Boa Morte is recuperating after surgery in Portugal while Savio is due back on Monday after two weeks out .

• Gianfranco Zola will be without Herita Ilunga because of a fractured jaw. The left-back was initially thought to have escaped relatively unhurt from a clash of heads at Wolves but subsequent examination by club doctors and further tests revealed the extent of his problem. He has missed the last two games but is working on his own at Chadwell Heath.

• Zola has several choices to replace him including Jonathan Spector who filled in against Tottenham and Millwall. The 18-year-old Fabio Daprela, a Swiss Under-19 international, is also standing by while Danny Gabbidon made his first competitive club appearance for 18 months in midweek.

• Switzerland midfielder Valon Behrami is back in full training at Chadwell Heath after the cruciate knee ligament injury he suffered against Manchester City on 1 March and has a chance of facing Wigan Athletic away in a fortnight.

• Frank Nouble has appeared off the bench in the last two games and is pushing for a start in attack alongside Zavon Hines, who scored after also coming on in the Tuesday win against Millwall.

• James Tomkins, like Gabbidon, is also eager to dislodge either Matthew Upson or James Collins in the centre of defence. He played alongside Gabbidon at centre-back against the Lions.

• Terry Dixon is also progressing well and is in full training with the reserves.

• Blackburn could hand a full debut to striker Nikola Kalinic, who appeared as a second-half substitute at Sunderland.

• It is not yet known if recent recruit Michel Salgado will figure at right-back while left-back Stephen Warnock has left for Aston Villa. Fellow new signing from Tottenham Hotspur, Pascal Chimbonda is poised to make his first start at full-back if Salgado is not passed fit.

• Blackburn are set to be without Ryan Nelsen (knee), Franco Di Santo (hamstring) and Steven Reid (hamstring). There are also doubts over knocks to El Hadj Diouf (groin) and Brett Emerton (thigh), while Sam Allardyce will also give Benni McCarthy a late fitness test on his ankle.

Travel information

• For directions for Ewood Park, click here

General information

• For ticket news, click here.

• Saturday afternoon's weather forecast is for light rain showers with a top temperature of 17 degrees.