Blackburn match preview

Barclays Premier League
Blackburn Rovers v West Ham United
Ewood Park
Saturday 21 March
Referee: Chris Foy

• West Ham United travel to face Sam Allardyce's Blackburn Rovers in the club's 15th away match of the 2008/09 Barclays Premier League season.

• On the road, West Ham have won four (Fulham, Sunderland, Portsmouth, Wigan Athletic), drawn five (Middlesbrough, Liverpool, Chelsea, Newcastle United, Arsenal) and lost five (Manchester City, West Bromwich Albion, Hull City, Manchester United and Bolton Wanderers)

• The Hammers go into Saturday's match unbeaten in their last three Premier League matches. A Jack Collison volley saw Manchester City beaten 1-0 at the Boleyn Ground on 1 March before Carlton Cole's fine finish earned victory by the same scoreline at Wigan Athletic on 4 March. West Ham drew 0-0 with West Bromwich Albion at the Boleyn Ground on Monday evening.

• West Ham will hope to complete their third Premier League 'double' of the season after winning 4-1 at the Boleyn Ground in the reverse fixture on Saturday 30 August. Wigan and Fulham are the other teams the Hammers have beaten home and away this season.

• West Ham have won their last 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.

• Zola's side go into the match in seventh place in the Premier League table. A win could lift the Hammers within five points of sixth-placed Everton should the Toffeemen lose at Portsmouth on Saturday. Should the top-six remain the same, a seventh-place finish will be good enough to qualify for next season's inaugural UEFA Europa League.

• Blackburn go into Saturday's match 15th in the Premier League table, a point above 18th-placed Stoke City.

• This is the 92nd league meeting between the two sides. Blackburn have won 42, West Ham have won 38 and there have been eleven draws.

• West Ham manager 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.


• Monday's referee is Chris Foy.

• Now 46, Foy started refereeing at the age of 20 in 1983. He joined the Football League list of assistant referees in 1994 and the Premier League assistant referees' list a year later.

• Foy became a Football League referee in 1996 before being promoted to the Premier League list in 2001, taking charge of his first top-flight fixture in December of that year.

• Foy took charge of the 2007 FA Trophy final between Stevenage Borough and Kidderminster Harriers at Wembley on 12 May 2007.

• He returned to the national stadium as fourth official for the 2008 FA Cup final between Portsmouth and Cardiff City before refereeing this season's Carling Cup final between Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur.

• Foy has been actively involved in the 'Don't X The Line' campaign to eradicate abusive or aggressive behaviour from players and spectators at junior and youth matches.

• Foy has taken charge of just one West Ham fixture so far this season, refereeing the Hammers' 1-0 defeat at Hull City on 19 October. He was also in charge for Blackburn's 2-0 home defeat by Chelsea and 0-0 draw at Middlesbrough earlier this term.

Last time out

Monday 16 March 2009
Barclays Premier League
West Ham United 0-0 West Bromwich Albion
West Ham United: Green, Neill, Tomkins, Upson (Spector 29), Ilunga, Noble (Boa Morte 82), Kovac, Parker, Savio (Stanislas 68), Di Michele, Sears
Subs not used: Lastuvka, Lopez, Payne, Tristan
Booked: Savio

Saturday 14 March 2009
Barclays Premier League
Arsenal 4-0 Blackburn Rovers
Blackburn Rovers: Robinson, Simpson, Samba, Ooijer, Givet (Dunn 13), Diouf, Mokoena, Khizanishvili (McCarthy 66), Warnock (Olsson 55), Pedersen, Roberts
Subs not used: Bunn, Tugay, Andrews, Treacy
Booked: Diouf, Khizanishvili, Mokoena, Ooijer

West Ham United

• West Ham go into Saturday's match aiming to extend their Premier League unbeaten run to four matches, having overcome Manchester City and Wigan Athletic 1-0 and drawn 0-0 with West Brom in their last three league matches.

• For the second consecutive match, West Ham face a side beaten by Arsenal in their previous Premier League fixture. West Brom had gone down 3-1 to the Gunners, while Blackburn lost 4-0 at the Emirates Stadium on 14 March.

• 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 won on each of their last two visits to Blackburn. A Carlos Tevez penalty and Bobby Zamora goal gave the Hammers a 2-1 victory in March 2007. Nine months later, Dean Ashton's header earned the Londoners a 1-0 success.

• Carlton Cole is West Ham's top scorer in the Premier League this season with nine goals. He has eleven in all competitions. However, Cole is suspended for Saturday's game.

• Goalkeeper Robert Green is the only West Ham player to have played every minute of the club's 29 Premier League matches so far this season. Matthew Upson has started all 29 games, but was substituted late in the 3-1 home defeat by Everton on 8 November and during the first half of Monday's 0-0 draw with West Brom.

• Cole is West Ham's statistics leader in a number of categories. The striker has had more shots in total (74), on target (45) and off target (29), more assists (five), been caught offside more times (28) and committed more fouls (62) than any other Hammers player.

• Matthew Upson has made more defensive blocks (45) and clearances (25) than any other West Ham player.

• Midfielder Mark Noble has unleashed more crosses (24) than any other West Ham player.

• Cole has been sent-off twice, more than any other West Ham player, while Noble and Scott Parker have each been shown the yellow card on seven occasions.

Blackburn Rovers

• Blackburn go into Saturday's match having won two and drawn one of their last four Premier League fixtures. However, in their last engagement, Rovers were beaten 4-0 at Arsenal on Saturday 14 March.

• 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. 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.

• Benni McCarthy and Jason Roberts are Blackburn's joint top scorers in the Premier League this season with seven goals each. McCarthy has ten goals in all competitions, while Roberts has not scored outside of the Premier League.

• None of Blackburn's players have started all 29 of their Premier League fixtures. Stephen Warnock has started 28, Ryan Nelsen 27 and both Paul Robinson and Christopher Samba 26 each.

• Norway winger Morten Gamst Pedersen has unleashed more shots (41) and crosses (63) than any other Blackburn player. Pedersen has also conjured more assists (seven) than any of his Rovers team-mates.

• Jason Roberts has had more shots on target (27), been caught offside (26), won more free-kicks (38) and committed more fouls (43) than any other Blackburn player.

• Defender Christopher Samba has made more defensive clearances (62) than any other Rovers player this season, while central defensive partner Ryan Nelsen has made more defensive blocks (18) than any of his colleagues.

• Should Blackburn win on Saturday, they will pass the 500-point plateau in the Premier League. Rovers currently sit on 498 points. They would become the ninth club in the league's history to reach such a milestone.

Team news

• West Ham manager Gianfranco Zola will be without the suspended Carlton Cole, who received two yellow cards and was sent-off at Wigan Athletic on 4 March. Cole also missed Monday's 0-0 draw against West Brom at the Boleyn Ground but will return for the home fixture against Sunderland on Saturday 4 April. Diego Tristan is fully fit though after overcoming a muscle injury.

• Zola will also be without midfielders Valon Behrami and Jack Collison. Switzerland international Behrami will be out of action for around six months after suffering a anterior cruciate ligament injury in his knee, while Collison is expected to be sidelined until the end of April with a dislocated kneecap.

• England defender Matthew Upson is facing a race to be fit for Saturday's match after being carried off with a calf strain in Monday's goalless draw with West Brom. The 29-year-old will be assessed on Friday.

• Wales defender James Collins is continuing his rehabilitation after suffering a hamstring strain at Bolton on 21 February.

• Young Academy graduate Junior Stanislas impressed as a second-half substitute in Monday's goalless draw with West Brom - his Premier League debut - and will hope to be given another chance to shine at Ewood Park should he recover from a slight thigh muscle injury. The England Under-19 winger has been with the Hammers since he was eleven and enjoyed a successful loan spell at League One outfit Southend United earlier this season.

• Savio received a knock to his kneecap on Monday evening. As with Upson, a decision will taken on his fitness on Friday.

• England forward Kieron Dyer has trained well with the first-team squad this week.

• Reserve team captain Bondz 'Gala is pushing hard for a place in the matchday 18 after travelling with the first-team squad to the recent fixtures against Wigan and West Brom. The 19-year-old central defender has been in good form for Alex Dyer's reserve team in recent weeks and could be named among the substitutes at Ewood Park. 'Gala was named on the bench for the visit of Stoke City on Sunday 28 December.

• Wales defender Danny Gabbidon is continuing his recovery from back and stomach injuries by working with the club's medical staff at Chadwell Heath. He is now running.

• Blackburn's star striker Roque Santa Cruz is set to miss Saturday's game with a knee injury. The Paraguay forward has been out of action for the past two weeks with tendinitis.

• France defender Gael Givet (knee) and Australia midfielder Vince Grella (groin) are both battling to be fit for Saturday's fixture. Grella missed last Saturday's 4-0 defeat at Arsenal, while on-loan Marseille man Givet was replaced by David Dunn after just 13 minutes at the Emirates Stadium.

• Blackburn will definitely be without Australia midfielder Brett Emerton, who has an anterior cruciate ligament injury in his knee, and Ireland midfielder Steven Reid, who is also ruled out for the remainder of the season with a knee complaint.

Last meeting

• The teams met at the Boleyn Ground on Saturday 30 August, with West Ham running out 4-1 winners. Calum Davenport and a Christopher Samba own-goal put West Ham 2-0 up within 20 minutes before Jason Roberts netted for Rovers on 22 minutes. Robert Green then saved Roberts' penalty shortly after half-time before Craig Bellamy and Carlton Cole added further goals for the home side in added time.

• The lineups were:

West Ham United: Green, Behrami, Davenport, Upson, Neill, Faubert (McCartney 60), Parker, Noble (Mullins 81), Etherington, Cole, Ashton (Bellamy 69)
Subs not used: Lastuvka, Boa Morte, Reid, Sears
Goals: Davenport 12, Samba 20 (og), Bellamy 90, Cole 90

Blackburn Rovers: Robinson, Ooijer, Samba, Nelsen, Warnock, Emerton, Reid, Grella (Andrews 46), Pedersen (Treacy 66), Santa Cruz (Derbyshire 29), Roberts
Subs not used Brown, Mokoena, Villanueva, Simpson
Goal: Roberts 22

Attendance: 32,905

Old boys

• West Ham captain Lucas Neill spent five-and-a-half years with Blackburn, making 227 appearances and scoring eight goals between September 2001 and January 2007. Neill joined Rovers from Millwall for a £1m fee before leaving for the Boleyn Ground for around £1.5m.

• 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, Ian Pearce, Bob Pride, Syd Puddefoot, John Radford, Robbie Slater, Matthew Smailes, Percy Smith and Lionel Watson.

Head to head

Last six meetings (Premier League unless stated)

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
28 January 2006 West Ham United 4-2 Blackburn Rovers

Overall record v Blackburn Rovers (all competitions) W 41 D 16 L 45

Next up

• West Ham will play host to Sunderland in a Barclays Premier League fixture on Saturday 4 April, with kick-off at 3pm

• Blackburn will welcome Tottenham Hotspur in the Barclays Premier League on Saturday 4 April, with kick-off at 12.45pm

General information

• For ticket information, click here

• The weather forecast for Blackburn this Saturday is for a sunny day with a maximum daytime temperature of 12C.