Hull City preview

Barclays Premier League
West Ham United v Hull City
Boleyn Ground
Wednesday 28 January
Referee: Howard Webb

• West Ham United welcome Phil Brown's Hull City for the club's 12th home match of the 2008/09 Barclays Premier League season.

• United have won five home league matches (Wigan Athletic, Blackburn Rovers, Newcastle United, Stoke City and Fulham), drawn one (Portsmouth) and lost five (Bolton Wanderers, Arsenal, Everton, Tottenham Hotspur and Aston Villa).

• The Hammers go into the match on an unbeaten run of six matches in all competitions. It is now well over a month since they last lost, unluckily going down 1-0 at home to Aston Villa in the Premier League on 20 December. Since then, Gianfranco Zola's team have beaten Portsmouth (4-1), Stoke City (2-1) and Fulham (3-1), drawn with Newcastle United (2-2) and knocked Barnsley (3-0) and Hartlepool United (2-0) out of the FA Cup.

• Zola said: "It's going to be a tough game because Hull City, especially when they are away from home, are well-organised and tough to beat so it will require a special performance from us. The squad is confident. The team is playing well. They now know their qualities and their capacities and I'm sure they will play a good game."

• Hull City manager Phil Brown is considering handing starts to Jimmy Bullard - a new £5m signing from Fulham - and Andy Dawson, who impressed in the FA Cup win over Millwall on Saturday. Brown said: "The selection problems I've got are a headache for every manager in the Premier League and I'm looking forward to the challenge. We've got 16 or 17 cup finals and if I get the team right for half-a-dozen of those, we will come away with the spoils and we'll be a Premier League team next season."

• Zola's side go into the contest match in eighth place in the Premier League table. A win could lift the Hammers above Wigan Athletic into seventh position should the Latics lose at home to Liverpool.

• The game is Hull City's first visit to the Boleyn Ground since 6 October 1990, when West Ham United ran out 7-1 winners. That match is famous for featuring the only goal scored by Steve Potts in 505 league and cup matches for the club.

• The Tigers' visit is the tenth of West Ham United's 23 Premier League matches to be screened live on television. Tonight's fixture will be shown live by Sky Sports.

• This is the 34th league meeting between the two sides. Hull City have won 13, West Ham United have won nine and there have been eleven draws.

• West Ham United will next be in action when they head to the Emirates Stadium to take on Arsenal Saturday 31 January. Hull City will host West Bromwich Albion at the KC Stadium the same day.


• Tonight's referee is Howard Webb. The 37-year-old is among the most highly-rated officials in the Premier League, having been appointed to take control of a series of high-profile matches already this season.

• Webb, a police sergeant, took up refereeing in the Rotherham Leagues in 1989 before moving up to the Northern Counties East League (1993), Football League (1996) and Premier League (1998), originally as an assistant referee. He was appointed to the Select List of Premier League referees in 2003 and as a FIFA official in 2005.

• Webb has taken control of a host of important fixtures including the 2005 Community Shield, the 2006 FA Trophy final (held at the Boleyn Ground), the 2007 Carling Cup final and the Euro 2008 matches between Austria and Poland and Greece and Spain.

• So far this season, Webb has also been appointed to take control of a host of important Premier League matches, including: Liverpool v Manchester United; Chelsea v Liverpool; Arsenal v Manchester United; Manchester City v Manchester United; Arsenal v Liverpool; Manchester United v Chelsea and Liverpool v Everton.

• Webb dismissed Mark Noble in the only other West Ham United match he has refereed this season, a 3-0 defeat at Manchester City last August.

• Webb was the referee who sent-off West Ham United's Hayden Mullins and Liverpool's Luis Garcia in a Premier League match at the Boleyn Ground in April 2006, causing both to miss the subsequent FA Cup final between the two sides.

Last time out

Saturday 24 January 2009
FA Cup fourth round
Hartlepool United 0-2 West Ham United

West Ham United: Green, Faubert, Collins, Tomkins, Ilunga, Behrami, Parker, Noble, Collison (Boa Morte 64), Cole (Sears 78), Di Michele (Mullins 75)
Subs not used: Stech, Neill, Spector, Tristan
Booked: Cole, Ilunga, Collins
Goals: Behrami 44, Noble 45 (pen)

Saturday 24 January 2009
FA Cup fourth round
Hull City 2-0 Millwall

Hull City: Warner, Ricketts, Turner, Zayatte, Dawson, Garcia, Ashbee, Marney, Halmosi (Featherstone 66), Cousin, Manucho (Folan 75)
Subs not used: Duke, Doyle, Geovanni, France, Mendy
Booked: Folan
Goals: Turner 15, Ashbee 84

West Ham United

• In-form striker Carlton Cole has scored five goals in his last six matches in all competitions. He is West Ham United's leading scorer this season with nine goals.

• West Ham United's biggest ever home win over Hull City came in the shape of a 7-1 success on the Tigers last visit to the Boleyn Ground on 6 October 1990. That day, Julian Dicks and Jimmy Quinn scored twice while Steve Potts, George Parris and Trevor Morley were also on target. Ian Hockaday scored Hull's only goal.

• Valon Behrami had won more free-kicks, with 57, than any other player in the Premier League this season before the current midweek round of matches. A caution for Behrami on Wednesday would mean an automatic one-match ban that would rule him out of the visit of Manchester United on Sunday week.

Hull City

• Hull City have lost their last five Premier League matches, going down to Arsenal, Everton, Aston Villa, Manchester City and Sunderland. In all, Hull have won just one of their last 13 league matches - a 2-1 home win over Middlesbrough on 6 December.

• However, Phil Brown's side are still in the FA Cup and face a fifth-round tie at home to Sheffield United after beating Millwall 2-0 at the KC Stadium on Saturday. They had previously knocked out Newcastle United in the third round. It is the first time Hull have reached the last-16 since 1989.

• Hull City defender Michael Turner, who scored the Tigers' winner in their 1-0 win over West Ham United at the KC Stadium earlier this season, has made more defensive clearances (71) and blocks (24) than any other Premier League player this season

• Hull City have committed more fouls, 305, than any other Premier League team.

• Hull City's players have been caught offside more times, 94, than any other Premier League team.

• Manager Brown has been active in the January transfer window, bringing in Fulham midfielder Jimmy Bullard for £5m, Wigan Athletic winger Kevin Kilbane for an undisclosed fee and Manchester United's Angolan forward Manucho on loan. Hull have also secured the services of Guinea international defender Kamil Zayatte, who was formerly at the club on a season-long loan, on a permanent contract for a £2.5m fee.

• Hull City's have only ever won twice at the Boleyn Ground. Their last victory came in the shape of a 2-1 Second Division victory on 20 January 1990. Neil Buckley and Andy Payton were on target for the Tigers, while Trevor Morley scored West Ham United's consolation goal. Hull's only other success in east London came with a 2-1 Second Division win on 29 December 1934.

Team News

• Gianfranco Zola could recall captain Lucas Neill and England defender Matthew Upson, who were rested for Saturday's FA Cup fourth round trip to Hartlepool United, to his starting lineup tonight.

• Savio Nsereko, West Ham United's new signing from Italian side Brescia Calcio, could make his debut for the club tonight. The Germany Under-20 forward has signed a four-and-a-half year contract after the two clubs agreed an undisclosed fee. Savio is 19 and was born in Uganda before his family moved to the German city of Munich when he was two years old. Savio joined Brescia in 2005 after being spotted by Hammers technical director Gianluca Nani, who then held the same role with the Italian club. Savio was awaiting international clearance from the Italian FA at the time of writing.

• Czech goalkeeper Jan Lastuvka is back in full training this week after recovering from a slight knee injury.

• Only Dean Ashton (ankle), Danny Gabbidon (stomach) and Kieron Dyer (calf) are not in full training. Dyer is still recovering from a calf injury.

• Hull City have a number of injury absentees. Midfielder George Boateng will be out until April with a knee ligament injury, while former England forward Nicky Barmby (calf) and defender Anthony Gardner (thigh) are both out.

• The Tigers could see former West Ham United trainee Jimmy Bullard make his debut for the club after joining from Fulham. Republic of Ireland winger Kevin Kilbane could make his second appearance for Hull after his recent switch from Wigan Athletic. Forward Craig Fagan returns from a one-match suspension for picking up five yellow cards and could feature tonight.

• West Ham United midfielder Mark Noble played five matches on loan at Hull City at the end of the 2005/06 season.

• Hull City forward Richard Garcia was part of the West Ham United side that lifted the FA Youth Cup in 1999. The 27-year-old Australian played 22 times for the Hammers before joining Colchester United for a nominal fee in September 2004. Garcia moved on to Hull City in July 2007, helping the club gain promotion to the Premier League in his first season at the KC Stadium.

• Bullard began his career with West Ham United but failed to make a first-team appearance for the club before leaving for Peterborough United in May 2001.

• Among the other players who have represented both clubs are Tommy Brandon, Roy Carroll, Alf Fenwick, Cliff Hubbard, Stuart Pearson and Tony Weldon.

Last Meeting

• The teams met at the KC Stadium on Sunday 19 October 2008, with Michael Turner's 51st-minute header proving to the only difference between the two sides.

• The lineups were:

Hull City: Myhill, McShane, Zayatte, Turner, Dawson, Marney, Ashbee, Boateng (Hughes 72), Geovanni (Halmosi 73), Cousin (Garcia 82), King.
Subs not used: Duke, Mendy, Folan, Ricketts
Goal: Turner 51

West Ham United: Green, Faubert (Di Michele 73), Neill, Upson, Ilunga, Behrami, Parker, Noble, Etherington (Sears 83), Bellamy, Cole
Subs not used: Lastuvka, Lopez, Boa Morte, Mullins, Davenport

Attendance: 24,896

Head to head

Last six meetings (Premier League unless stated)

10 October 2008 Hull City 1-0 West Ham United
23 March 1991 Hull City 0-0 West Ham United (Division Two)
6 October 1990 West Ham United 7-1 Hull City (Division Two)
20 January 1990 West Ham United 1-2 Hull City (Division Two)
2 September 1989 Hull City 1-1 West Ham United (Division Two)
3 February 1973 Hull City 1-0 West Ham United (FA Cup fourth round)

Overall record v Hull City (all competitions) W 13 D 13 L 10

General Information

• Tickets are now on general sale. Click here for more information.

The weather is expected to be cloudy and quite cold, with temperatures as low as four degrees.