Team news: Birthday boy Collins to make 200th West Ham appearance

James Collins


Birthday boy James Collins will make his 200th West Ham United appearance in tonight’s Carabao Cup second round tie at League Two side Cheltenham Town.

The Wales centre-half, who turns 34 today, starts in defence alongside Angelo Ogbonna as the Hammers start down what they hope will be the road all the way to Wembley in Gloucestershire.

Collins makes his first appearance of the season in a back four that also includes Sam Byram and Arthur Masuaku.

Behind them, Adrian returns to the starting XI against the same opposition he faced on his West Ham debut at the Boleyn Ground almost exactly four years ago.

The Hammers won 2-1 that night, but the Spanish goalkeeper is the only player from the starting XI picked by then-manager Sam Allardyce who is still at the Club.

Collins and captain Mark Noble were both at the Club at the time, but not involved, but both start tonight.

Noble, who makes his 19th League Cup appearance, lines up in midfield alongside promising youngster Declan Rice, Spaniard Pedro Obiang and Switzerland international Edimilson Fernandes.

The starting XI is rounded out by Andre Ayew and Diafra Sakho, with the Senegal striker starting for the first time since the Premier League draw at Manchester United on 27 November 2016.

The substitutes’ bench contains plenty of first-team talent, with Cheikhou Kouyate fit again after a wrist injury joining Montenegrin teenager Sead Haksabanovic, who could make his debut if he is introduced, among the replacements.

To complete the replacements, Slaven Bilic has also brought Joe Hart, Aaron Cresswell, Jose Fonte, Portuguese youngster Domingos Quina and Chicharito to Whaddon Road.

Michail Antonio is being rested ahead of the Premier League trip to Newcastle United on Saturday, Winston Reid is out with a calf injury, while Marko Arnautovic is suspended after being sent-off at Southampton last weekend.

West Ham United: Adrian, Byram, Collins, Ogbonna, Masuaku, Rice, Obiang, Noble ©, Fernandes, Ayew, Sakho
Subs: Hart (GK), Cresswell, Fonte, Kouyate, Haksabanovic, Chicharito, Quina