Wolves match preview

West Ham United v Wolverhampton Wanderers
Barclays Premier League
Boleyn Ground
Saturday 1 January 2011
Kick-off: 3pm
Referee: Lee Probert




• West Ham United welcome Wolverhampton Wanderers as the Barclays Premier League's bottom club but on the back of a run of two 1-1 draws either side of a 3-1 win at Fulham on Boxing Day. The sequence began at Blackburn Rovers a fortnight ago before last Tuesday's home match with Everton. Wolves are just one place and one point better off but head to east London after a 1-0 win at Liverpool on Wednesday night.

• Both teams will take great heart from recent form and know that they are within striking distance of Aston Villa in 15th place. The Hammers have a superior goal difference to the Midlands club and are just three points adrift.

• Last season's fixture at the Boleyn Ground was twice re-arranged. It was originally due to be played on 10 January 2010 before being beaten by adverse weather conditions in east London. It was then rescheduled for Tuesday 2 February 2010 only for Wolves' FA Cup commitments at the time to lead to a second postponement until 23 March 2010.

• Wolves will take heart from that previous encounter at the Boleyn Ground when they won 3-1 in the middle of a six-match league losing run for the Hammers. Guille Franco's last-gasp consolation was all the Hammers had to show for a disappointing defeat that saw Kevin Doyle (28), Ronald Zubar (58) and Matt Jarvis (61) score for the visitors.

This will be the sides' fourth encounter in the Premier League but they have met 58 times before. West Ham hold the upper hand with 26 wins. Wolves have emerged victorious on 18 occasions.

• Avram Grant and Mick McCarthy are both former international managers. Grant was in charge of Israel between 2002 and 2006, while McCarthy had previously had the helm of the Republic of Ireland between 1996 and 2002.

West Ham United have twice won 5-0 against Wolves at home - on 17 December 1960 and on 7 September 1964. Wolves' best showing at the Boleyn Ground was a 4-1 triumph on 20 August 1962.

West Ham have lost their last six matches on New Year's Day.

Last time out

Tuesday 28 December 2010
Barclays Premier League
West Ham United 1-1 Everton
West Ham United: Green, Upson, Ilunga (Spector 34), Faubert, Tomkins, Parker, Kovac, Boa Morte, Piquionne (Cole 56), Obinna (Hines 86), Sears
Subs not used: Boffin, Reid, Barrera, Stanislas
Goal: Hibbert og 16

Wednesday 29 December 2010
Barclays Premier League
Liverpool 0-1 Wolverhampton Wanderers
Wolves: Hennessey, Foley, Stearman, Berra, Elokobi, Zubar, Jarvis (Edwards 89), Ward (Fletcher 78), Milijas, Hunt, Ebanks-Blake
Subs not used: Hahnemann, Bent, Jones, Mujangi Bia, Batth
Goal: Ward 56 

Last meeting

The sides met on Saturday 16 October 2010 at Molineux when a harsh late handball decision against Frederic Piquionne cost the Hammers all three points. Matt Jarvis had put the home side in front on ten minutes following a goalmouth scramble before Mark Noble levelled from the spot on 53 minutes. Piquionne then ran through in the final seconds of the match and slotted in to the net after controlling the ball on his chest. The referee Mark Clattenburg, though, blew for an apparent handball.

Wolves: Hahnemann, Foley, Berra, Craddock (Stearman 5) , Mancienne, Edwards (Ebanks-Blake 88), Jarvis, Jones, Ward, Fletcher (Van Damme 67), Doyle
Subs not used: Hennessey, Bent, Elokobi, Milijas

West Ham: Green, Gabbidon, Jacobsen, Ben Haim, Da Costa, Parker, Noble, Dyer (Cole 77), Boa Morte, Piquionne, Obinna
Subs not used: Stech, Behrami, Ilunga, Faubert, Tomkins, McCarthy

Head to head

Last six meetings (all league unless stated)

16 October 2010 - Wolverhampton Wanderers 1-1 West Ham United
23 March 2010 - West Ham United 1-3 Wolverhampton Wanderers
15 August 2009 - Wolverhampton Wanderers 0-2 West Ham United
15 January 2005 - Wolverhampton Wanderers 4-2 West Ham United
2 October 2004 - West Ham United 1-0 Wolverhampton Wanderers
25 January 2004 - Wolverhampton Wanderers 1-3 West Ham United (FA Cup)

Overall record v Wolves - W 26, D 14, L18

Ten-year records

West Ham United

2009/10 Premier League 17th (35 points)
2008/09 Premier League 9th (51 points)
2007/08 Premier League 10th (49 points)
2006/07 Premier League 15th (41 points)
2005/06 Premier League 9th (55 points)
2004/05 Championship 6th (73 points - promoted to Premier League via play-offs)
2003/04 Championship 4th (74 points)
2002/03 Premier League 18th (42 points - relegated to Championship)
2001/02 Premier League 7th (53 points)
2000/01 Premier League 15th (42 points)

Wolverhampton Wanderers

2009/10 Premier League 15th (38 points)
2008/09 Championship 1st (90 points - promoted to Premier League)
2007/08 Championship 7th (70 points)
2006/07 Championship 5th (76 points)
2005/06 Championship 7th (67 points)
2004/05 Championship 9th (66 points)
2003/04 Premier League 20th (33 points)
2002/03 Division One 5th (76 points - promoted to Premier League via play-offs)
2001/02 Division One 3rd (86 points)
2000/01 Division One 12th (55 points)


Saturday's referee will be Lee Probert, fresh from his officiating duties for the 2-2 draw between Wigan Athletic and Arsenal at the DW Stadium on Wednesday.

• Aged 37, Probert has been a Premier League referee since summer 2007.

• Born in Gloucestershire, Probert made his way through the local leagues before joining the Football Conference list, being promoted to the Football League list of referees in 2003.

• Probert took charge of the Hammers' 3-0 defeat at Liverpool on 20 November. Probert's last appointment for a Hammers' fixture at the Boleyn Ground was the 2-1 home defeat by Bolton Wanderers on 6 March this year.

• He has refereed two Wolves matches this season. The 2-1 opening-day home win against Stoke City and the 2-0 defeat at Chelsea on 23 October.

Team news

West Ham United

• Manager Avram Grant is definitely without Thomas Hitzlsperger (thigh), Jack Collison (knee) and Manuel da Costa (ankle). None are expected to return before February at the earliest. Goalkeeper Peter Kurucz (knee) is not expected to play at all this season.

• Herita Ilunga, Kieron Dyer (thigh) and Benni McCarthy (calf) are suffering with muscle problems that will keep them out.

• Mark Noble has returned to training after the hip injury he suffered at Liverpool on Saturday 20 November. Lars Jacobsen is also hoping to return soon having been kept out with a troublesome heel since the Wigan Athletic match on 27 November.

• Valon Behrami was also last seen against Wigan but has recovered from a hip problem. The manager could decide to recall Danny Gabbidon and Tal Ben Haim after both were rested in midweek against Everton.

• Matt Fry remains at League One high-fliers Charlton Athletic on a temporary basis but is due back this month.

Wolverhampton Wanderers

• Kevin Doyle and Jody Craddock could be sidelined again with thigh problems while Michael Mancienne and Karl Henry also missed the Liverpool game with knee issues. Steven Mouyokolo (back) was another to miss out.

• Michael Kightly has not played for over 13 months and has just undergone a second knee operation. Striker Sam Vokes, who had been on loan at Bristol City, has a hamstring injury.


West Ham United

• No West Ham United player has started every game this season.

• West Ham have yet to score in the first ten minutes of a Barclays Premier League game this season - the quickest strike being Carlton Cole's 12th-minute goal against Newcastle United.

• Danny Gabbidon has the quickest card in the division this season, earning a caution just 85 seconds into the Fulham home game.

• Scott Parker's threat of a one-match ban for five yellow cards has disappeared after he made it to the end of 2010 on four cautions. The disciplinary rules now state that a two-match ban will follow for any player picking up ten yellow cards.

Wolverhampton Wanderers

• Wolves have won just one of the last seven matches at the Boleyn Ground - last season's 3-1 success.

Wolves have never won back-to-back away games in the Barclays Premier League.

Old boys

• Carlton Cole spent two months on loan at Wolves at the end of 2003, where he made seven appearances, scoring one goal.

• First-team coach Kevin Keen played 42 times for Wolves after leaving West Ham in 1993.

• Others who have played for both clubs include Jeremie Aliadiere, Edward Anderson, Frank Burrill, Henri Camara, Robert 'Dickie' Deacon, Tommy Dunn, Noel Dwyer, Joe Gallagher, Bobby Gould, Harry Hooper, Tudor Martin, Shaun Newton, Nigel Quashie and Dick Richards.

Next up

• The Hammers head to Newcastle United on Wednesday night while Wolves welcome Chelsea on the same evening.

General information

• For ticket information, click here.

• Saturday afternoon's forecast in east London is for an overcast day with some rain. Temperatures are set to peak around the 6C mark.