Birmingham City match preview

Barclays Premier League
Birmingham City v West Ham United
St. Andrews
Saturday 12 December
Referee: Lee Mason

WHUTV - Full match commentary

• West Ham United travel to Birmingham City looking to build on two successive away draws and hoping for their first away win since the opening day of the season. The Hammers drew 2-2 and 3-3 at Sunderland and Hull City respectively in their last two away fixtures.

• A win could potentially move the club up to 13th in the table and within three points of tenth place. Birmingham sit in ninth spot, seven points better off than their visitors.

• Birmingham, unbeaten in six matches, have not lost at home since 26 September.

• Robert Green has not kept a clean sheet since the 0-0 draw at Blackburn Rovers on 29 August.

• West Ham United have not lost in their last five home and away meetings with Birmingham, all of which came in the top flight.

• The Hammers last defeat at St. Andrews came on the opening day of the memorable 1985/86 season on 17 August 1985. John Lyall's team lost 1-0 but went on to finish in third place that season - still the club's best league showing.

• Since 1985, the club has won five and drawn one of their six road trips to Birmingham. The most recent was a 1-0 win on 18 August 2007 when Mark Noble's 70th-minute penalty separated the teams.

• The Hammers team that day included Green, Jonathan Spector, Kieron Dyer and late substitute Danny Gabbidon, while current Blues midfielder Lee Bowyer remained on the bench. Liam Ridgewell, Sebastian Larsson, Garry O'Connor, along with subs Cameron Jerome and Gary McSheffery, played for the hosts.

• This is the 81st league meeting between the two sides. West Ham have won 26, drawn 18 and lost 36 of the previous 80 contests.


• Saturday's referee is Lee Mason.

• Mason started refereeing in 1988 and in 1992 he was added to the North West Counties Football League assistant referees' list, and progressed to full referee for that competition four years later.

• He was included on the Football League list of assistant referees in 1998, and was then added to the Premier League list in 2000.

• In 2002, he was promoted to referee for the Football League and in 2003 became a 'Development Group' referee, before finally reaching the Premier League list of Select Group referees in 2006.

• His first ever match in the top tier was on 4 February 2006, when Middlesbrough lost 4-0 at home to Aston Villa.

• Mason was also chosen to control the League One Play-Off Final between Barnsley and Swansea on 27 May 2006 and also took charge of the 2009 FA Youth Cup final first leg between Arsenal and Liverpool.

• Mason's last match in the middle with the Hammers was the FA Cup fourth-round tie at Hartlepool United on 24 January this year. West Ham won 2-0.

Last time out

Saturday 5 December
Barclays Premier League
West Ham United 0-4 Manchester United

West Ham United: Green (Kurucz 73), Spector, Tomkins, Gabbidon, Ilunga, Kovac (Dyer 67), Parker, Collison, Stanislas, Hines (Diamanti 46), Franco
Subs not used: Faubert, da Costa, Payne, Nouble

Saturday 5 December
Barclays Premier League
Wigan Athletic 2-3 Birmingham City

Birmingham City: Hart, Ridgewell, Carr, Dann, Roger Johnson, Bowyer, Larsson, Ferguson, Jerome (Fahey 81), Benitez, McFadden
Subs not used: Carsley, Maik Taylor, McSheffrey, O'Shea, Queudrue, Vignal
Goals: Larsson 61, 72, Benitez 66

West Ham United

• West Ham United will be hoping to continue their form against Barclays Premier League newcomers this season. The club were 2-0 winners at Wolverhampton Wanderers on the opening day of the season before a 5-3 home defeat of Burnley a fortnight ago.

• Hanging on to leads is crucial if the club are to pick up their second away win of the campaign. Three times they have failed to convert a two-goal lead into a win so far this season.

• The Hammers have scored eight headed goals this season - more than any other team in the top flight. The club have also won more penalties (five) than any other team this campaign.

• West Ham have scored 24 goals this season with ten different scorers registering. Carlton Cole leads the way (seven), with Guille Franco (three) next in line. Jack Collison (two), Matthew Upson (two), Alessandro Diamanti (two), Junior Stanislas (two), Manuel da Costa, Mark Noble, Luis Jimenez and Zavon Hines have also registered.

• Cole is West Ham's top scorer this season with seven goals in 13 league games. The England striker has scored 14 goals in 25 Premier League games since Boxing Day 2008.

• Diamanti has more assists (three) than any other West Ham player.

• Noble has put in more crosses (15) than anyone else for the Hammers.

• Upson has made more defensive blocks (ten) and more defensive clearances (16) than anyone else for the club.

• Noble is in line to play his 100th league game for the club, if selected.

• Only Robert Green has played in every league game for the club this season. He is on a run of 103 successive league appearances.

• Julien Faubert and Cole are each on four yellow cards this season.

• West Ham's record away victory at Birmingham was on 1 November 1975 when they were 5-1 winners.

Birmingham City

• Alex McLeish's men will be looking to continue an impressive run of form after six games without defeat. That run has seen them win four and draw two, with the stalemates coming at home to Manchester City and away at Liverpool.

• The Blues have conceded just four goals at home all season.

• Birmingham's best home showing against West Ham was a 4-0 success on 18 November 1961.

• The Blues have only lost nine times at home to the Hammers in 38 previous league meetings.

• Bowyer tops the scoring charts with four Barclays Premier League goals with Sebastian Larsson next on three.

• All three of Larsson's have come from direct free-kicks this season, more than any other player in the Barclays Premier League.

• Joe Hart has made more saves than any other goalkeeper in the Barclays Premier League (99)

• Roger Johnson's 48 defensive clearances this season is the highest in the league.

Team news

• Alessandro Diamanti and Kieron Dyer have both trained fully again after substitute run-outs last week against Manchester United, while Robert Green is also expected to feature after being substituted in the last game feeling unwell.

• Mark Noble has fully recovered from a calf strain, having also missed out last week with a virus.

• Gianfranco Zola has lost Carlton Cole for a number of weeks with a knee injury. The extent of the problem was confirmed by the club last week after specialist advice. The England striker did not need surgery and has already undergone a week of rehab in the hope of returning early in the new year.

• Zavon Hines is also out with a knee problem with the club still assessing the extent of the injury. Luis Jimenez has been doing light training after a muscle problem and will hope to be in contention next week.

• Matthew Upson sat out last week with a hamstring problem and is unlikely to face his former club at the start of a run of three matches in eight days. Valon Behrami is targeting a return for the busy Christmas period after minor keyhole surgery on a knee cartilage problem.

• The long-term absentees remain Calum Davenport (leg) and Luis Boa Morte (knee). As confirmed on Friday, Dean Ashton has retired from football with an ankle injury.

• Birmingham will be without Stuart Parnaby, Teemu Taino and Martin Taylor while Kevin Phillips is doubtful.

Last meeting

• The teams last met at the Boleyn Ground on 9 February 2008, with Freddie Ljungberg's seventh-minute strike cancelled out by James McFadden's 16th-minute penalty in a 1-1 draw.

• The lineups that day were:

West Ham United: Green, Neill, Ferdinand, Upson, McCartney, Ljungberg, Bowyer (sent off 88), Mullins, Etherington (Camara 83), Ashton (Spector 89), Cole (Faubert 62)
Subs not used: Wright, Collison

Birmingham City: Maik Taylor, Kelly, Martin Taylor, Ridgewell, Murphy, Larsson, Muamba, Damien Johnson, McSheffrey (Parnaby 87), Forssell (Jerome 76), McFadden
Subs not used: Doyle, Nafti, Zarate

Old boys

• Matthew Upson played 128 games for the Midlands side during a four-year stay from 2003-07 before joining the Hammers. The former Birmingham captain scored five goals during his time at St. Andrews.

• Lee Bowyer made 60 appearances for West Ham United in two separate spells. The first saw him play eleven games in a six-month spell before a move to Newcastle United in 2003. The midfielder returned to the Boleyn Ground in 2006 for a three-year stay, which saw him play 49 times, scoring five goals.

• Liam Ridgewell started off life in the West Ham United Academy before moving to Aston Villa in February 2001.

• Among the other players who have represented both clubs are Alan Curbishley, Jimmy Bloomfield, Kenny J Brown, Julian Dicks, Eamonn Dolan, Harry Hooper, David Kelly, Stan Lazaridis, Mike Newell and Sam Small.

Head to head

Last six meetings (Premier League unless stated)

9 February 2008 West Ham United 1-1 Birmingham City
18 August 2007 Birmingham City 0-1 West Ham United
13 February 2006 West Ham United 3-0 Birmingham City
05 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

Overall record v Birmingham City (all competitions) W 41 D 24 L 52

Next up

• West Ham United will travel to Bolton Wanderers in the Barclays Premier League on Tuesday 15 December, kick-off at 8pm. At the same time, Birmingham will be at home again against Blackburn Rovers.

General information

• For ticket information, click here. For details on getting to St. Andrews click here

• Saturday's weather forecast is for a chilly, cloudy day with temperatures peaking at 6C.