Birmingham City preview

Barclays Premier League
West Ham United v Birmingham City
Boleyn Ground
Wednesday 10 February 2010
Referee: Mike Dean


• West Ham United return to home action with three new forwards - Benni McCarthy from Blackburn Rovers, Mido on loan from Middlesbrough via Eygptian side Zamalek and Ilan from French club AS Saint-Etienne - potentially in line for home debuts.

• Ilan scored on his first Hammers appearance away to Burnley last Saturday but it was not enough to help Gianfranco Zola's men avoid a 2-1 defeat. McCarthy, who started, and half-time replacement Mido - with shots cleared off the line and against the post respectively - also came close to finding the net.

• Prior to the 12 December 1-0 defeat at St Andrew's, West Ham United had not lost in five home and away meetings with Birmingham, all of which came in the top flight.

• Birmingham in eighth have more points (37) from 24 games than they managed in all of the 2007/08 season, when they were relegated. Consistency has been a major factor, with the Blues unchanged for the last dozen matches.

• While they have only scored 24 goals this season, they have only conceded the same number - fewer than Arsenal, Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur.

This is the 82nd league meeting between the two sides. West Ham have won 26 and drawn 18 of the previous 81 contests.

• West Ham have not lost at home in the Barclays Premier League since the 5 December visit of Manchester United. Since then the club have drawn 1-1 with Chelsea, won 2-0 against Portsmouth and drawn 0-0 with Blackburn Rovers.

• Zola's men have drawn three of their last four games - Aston Villa (0-0), Portsmouth (1-1) and Blackburn Rovers (0-0).

• West Ham go into the weekend's game in 18th place in the Barclays Premier League, although a win could potentially lift the club to 14th spot.

• The teams last met at the Boleyn Ground on 9 February 2008, when Freddie Ljungberg's seventh-minute strike was 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

• West Ham have won 5-0 three times at home against Birmingham - in the 1962/63, 1963/64 and 1982/83 seasons. Birmingham's best away showing in east London came back on 16 November 1946, with a 4-0 win.

Last time out

Saturday 6 February 2010
Barclays Premier League
Burnley 2-1 West Ham United
West Ham United:
Green, Faubert, Tomkins, Upson, Spector, Behrami, Noble (Ilan 77), Parker, Collison (Stanislas 62), Cole, McCarthy (Mido 46)
Subs not used: Stech, Da Costa, Ilunga
Goal: Ilan 81

Sunday 7 February 2010
Barclays Premier League
Birmingham City 2-1 Wolverhampton Wanderers
Hart, Carr, Dann, Johnson, Ridgwell, Bowyer, Ferguson, Larsson (Gardner 68), McFadden (Fahey 74), Benitez (Phillips 63), Jerome
Subs not used: Taylor, Vignal, Michel, Jervis
Goals: Phillips 80, 85

Last meeting

• The last meeting between the clubs came earlier this season at St. Andrew's, when Birmingham were 1-0 winners thanks to Lee Bowyer's 52nd-minute strike against his old club.

Birmingham City: Hart, Ridgewell, Carr, Dann, Johnson, Bowyer, Larsson, Ferguson, Jerome, Benitez (Fahey 89), McFadden (Phillips 89)
Subs not used: Maik Taylor, Carsley, McSheffrey, O'Shea, Vignal

West Ham United: Green, Gabbidon, Ilunga (Nouble 83), Tomkins, Parker, Kovac (Dyer 68), Noble (sent off 78), Faubert ,Stanislas (Collison 69), Franco, Diamanti
Subs not used: Spector, Da Costa, Payne, Kurucz

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. Andrew's.

• Lee Bowyer made 60 appearances for West Ham United in two 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)

12 December 2009 - Birmingham City 1-0 West Ham United
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

Overall record v Birmingham City (all competitions) W 30 D 19 L 38


• Wednesday's referee will be Mike Dean, who last took charge of the Hammers with the 1-1 draw at the Boleyn Ground against Chelsea on Saturday 20 December.

• His last Birmingham fixture was the 0-0 draw with Manchester City on 1 November 2009, when he cautioned five players and sent off Barry Ferguson for a deliberate handball.

• He has refereed 27 matches this season, issuing 96 yellow cards and three reds.

• Dean, 41, began refereeing in 1985, starting out his career in senior football in the Northern Premier League.

• In 2004, Dean took charge of his first international match, a friendly between the Netherlands and Republic of Ireland at Amsterdam Arena. That same year, he took control of the FA Community Shield between Arsenal and Manchester United.

• In May 2006, he refereed the Championship play-off final between Leeds United and Watford at the Millennium Stadium. Last year, he was the man-in-the-middle for the FA Cup final between Portsmouth and Cardiff City at Wembley Stadium.

West Ham United

• The Hammers have scored all seven of the penalties they have been awarded this season, a Premier League high.

• West Ham have scored 30 goals this season in the league with 12 different players on target. Carlton Cole leads the way (seven), with Alessandro Diamanti (five) and Guille Franco and Matthew Upson (three) next in line. Jack Collison, Junior Stanislas (two each), Ilan, Manuel da Costa, Mark Noble, the departed Luis Jimenez, Zavon Hines and Radoslav Kovac have also registered.

• Scott Parker has been cautioned eight times this season and Franco and Noble five. Julien Faubert, Cole, Collison and Kovac are each on four yellow cards, but will not be suspended if they receive a fifth as the FA disciplinary deadline has passed. Should any player reach ten cautions before the second Sunday in April, they will receive a suspension.

• Only Robert Green has played in every league game for the club this season. He is on a run of 111 successive league starts.

• Cole is on a run of 14 goals in 26 league starts since Boxing Day 2008 when he scored the second goal in a 4-1 win at Portsmouth.

• Alessandro Diamanti has the highest number of shots (56) and assists (four) at the club.

• Mark Noble has put in more crosses than anyone else (25).

• Central defensive partners Matthew Upson and James Tomkins lead the way in the defensive clearances and defensive blocks lists respectively. Upson has made 32 clearances, while Tomkins has 22 blocks.

Birmingham City

• Alex McLeish has been managing since 2001 and in December became the first Birmingham boss to win the Premier League manager of the month award.

• Sebastian Larsson, along with Didier Drogba, leads the league on goals scored direct from free-kicks, with three successful set-pieces this season.

• Larsson has made 62 crosses this season, more than any other Birmingham player.

• Lee Bowyer and Cameron Jerome are the top league scorers this season with five goals apiece, although the former also has one League Cup strike to his name.

• Roger Johnson has made more defensive clearances (74) than any other player in the top-flight this campaign.

• No Birmingham player has featured in every league game this season, with Joe Hart, Stephen Carr and Barry Ferguson all starting 23 of the 24 matches.

Team news

• It remains to be seen if Benni McCarthy will be fit to play after going off at half-time last Saturday with a knock to his knee.

• Mido and Ilan will both be pushing for a starting berth after impressive substitute appearances at Burnley.

• Alessandro Diamanti (knee) and Fabio Daprela (ankle) have both been back in training and will also be looking to force their way into contention. Kieron Dyer is also continuing to train fully.

• Danny Gabbidon (hamstring) and Guille Franco (thigh) are thought to be close to a full training return.

• Luis Boa Morte (knee), Calum Davenport (leg) and Zavon Hines (knee) are all long-term absentees. Boa Morte has been doing some light jogging around the Chadwell Heath pitches - having not played since his cruciate ligament injury in July.

• Birmingham have been unchanged for their last 12 matches, although Kevin Phillips may be pushing for a start after his two-goal show at the weekend. He had just returned from a three-game absence with a groin injury.

• Frank Queudrue, Garry O'Connor (hip) and Lee Carsley (ankle) have all had injury problems although the latter was an unused substitute last weekend.

• Birmingham made two signings during the transfer window, acquiring defensive midfielder Michel from Sporting Gijon and midfielder Craig Gardner from Aston Villa.

Match sponsors

• Beta Distribution, based in Quebec Wharf, London are the proud Match Sponsors for tonight's fixture against Birmingham City.

Beta is the industry's leading supplier of I.T hardware, consumables, and audio-visual technology and distributes nationally throughout the UK.

Tonight's Man of the Match will be nominated by Beta Distribution and will be announced shortly before the final whistle.

To see the vast array of products on offer from Beta, please visit

• Kameo Colour are this evening's Matchball Sponsor and is only too pleased to be commercially involved with West Ham United.

Kameo are based in Basildon, Essex and offer a number of first rate printing, reprographic, typesetting and finishing facilities.

Kameo's Jim Powles said: "We are proud to be tonight's matchball sponsor and wish Gianfranco Zola, the staff and team success for tonight and the rest of the season."

Information on all services offered by Kameo Colour can be found by contacting [email protected].

For more information on match sponsorships at West Ham United, please call the Corporate Sales Team on 0871 221 2700.

General info

• For ticket information, click here.

• For travel information click here. Fans who drive to the Boleyn Ground should note that the Blackwall Tunnel is closed to southbound traffic between 9pm and 5am from Sundays to Thursdays until December 2012.

• Wednesday night's weather forecast is for a chilly night with temperatures set to peak just above freezing.