West Ham United v Doncaster Rovers - All you need to know
West Ham United return to Emirates FA Cup action by hosting Doncaster Rovers in the fourth round on Saturday afternoon at 3pm.
The tie will be the first-ever meeting between the two clubs in this competition, meaning Rovers become West Ham’s 97th different opponent in the FA Cup.
The game also marks the Hammers’ 360th match in the world’s most-famous knockout tournament, with the first being a 5-0 defeat at Chatham for Thames Ironworks FC all the way back on 12 October 1895.
Fast forward 125 years from that afternoon and the Hammers are seeking to extend their perfect start to 2021 to five wins in a row with a victory over the EFL League One promotion-chasers, who themselves arrive at London Stadium on a run of six wins in their last seven games in all competitions.
The Irons are unbeaten in six in all competitions, having taken eleven points from a possible 15 in the Premier League and overcome National League outfit Stockport County in the FA Cup third round.
As everyone knows, England is now under national lockdown due to the ongoing pandemic, meaning the game will be played without supporters present. However, the match will be shown live in the UK on the BBC iPlayer and BBC Sport website, meaning our fans will be able to follow the action, safely, from home.
The prize for the winners of Saturday's tie is a trip to either Liverpool or Manchester United in the fifth round in the week commencing Monday 8 February.
Yes to VAR, no to a replay!
As Saturday's tie is being played at a Premier League Stadium, both VAR or HawkEye Goal line technology will be in use.
There is no replay, so if the scores are level after 90 minutes there will be a period of 30 minutes extra-time and if the scores still remain level after extra-time then the tie will be decided on penalties.
Each manager is permitted to name nine substitutes, of which five can be used, either in normal time, or if extra-time is required. However, managers only have three occasions during the game (in addition to half-time) in which to make the substitutions.
If the game goes into extra-time then an additional fourth occasion to make a substitution during a break in play is permitted, in addition to the stoppages between the end of normal time and the start of extra-time and during half-time of extra-time.
West Ham United manager David Moyes could make changes to his starting eleven from Tuesday's Premier League win over West Bromwich Albion.
Andriy Yarmolenko, Pablo Fornals and Mark Noble appeared as second-half substitutes against the Baggies and are pushing for starts. Goalkeeper Darren Randolph deputised for Łukasz Fabiański at Stockport in the third round and could be between the sticks again on Saturday.
Ryan Fredericks, Ben Johnson, Fabián Balbuena and Issa Diop are also all fit and available, should Moyes call upon them.
For Doncaster, Darren Moore could welcome defender Joe Wright back into his team after the centre-back returned from injury as a substitute against Rochdale on Tuesday evening.
However, midfielder Liam Ravenhill is set to miss out with a hip injury. Veteran attacking midfielder James Coppinger, who turned 40 in the week, remains sidelined with a calf injury, while versatile midfielder Madger Gomes is back in training following a long-term hamstring injury.
The opposition – Doncaster Rovers
Doncaster Rovers arrive at London Stadium seeking to extend a superb Emirates FA Cup run that has already seen them win three away ties against increasingly difficult opposition.
Darren Moore’s side kicked-off their challenge with a 5-1 victory at Northern Premier League Premier Division outfit FC United of Manchester at Broadhurst Park, before seeing off EFL League Two club Carlisle United at Brunton Park.
And Rovers secured their visit to east London by pulling off an impressive 1-0 win at Championship side Blackburn Rovers.
Six different players have scored Doncaster’s eight goals during their FA Cup campaign, with midfielder Ben Whiteman leading the way with three, including both in the second-round success at Carlisle. However, he has since joined Preston North End.
Rovers’ cup run has gone hand-in-hand with an increasingly impressive season in League One, where the Yorkshiremen have won six of their last seven matches to climb to fourth, just three points behind top-of-the-table Hull City.
Doncaster’s impressive season continues the progress they have made under former West Bromwich Albion manager Moore, who guided the club to a ninth-place finish in his first season in charge.
After winning 47.9% of his games in charge of West Brom, former Doncaster defender Moore has won 44.4% of his 68 matches since replacing Grant McCann in the summer of 2019 and could be set to end their four-year absence from the Championship.
Already a member of the club’s Hall of Fame, leading them back to the second tier would only enhance Moore's reputation among the Doncaster supporters - as would pulling off an FA Cupset over Premier League West Ham.
How will they play?
Doncaster Rovers kicked-off the week joint second-highest scorers in EFL League One with 35 goals netted in their opening 20 matches.
Darren Moore’s side have employed a 4-2-3-1 formation in each of their 20 games, with three attacking midfielders supporting centre-forward and leading scorer Feijiri Okenabirhie.
Rovers have been known for their pure footballing style for many years and that tradition has continued under Moore, whose team rank second in pass-completion percentage, fifth in possession, sixth in goal attempts.
The Hammers and Rovers have met 24 times previously, with all 24 being in the second tier – 22 in the old Second Division and two in the Championship.
The Yorkshiremen hold the all-time edge in head-to-head meetings, with ten wins to eight, with six draws.
West Ham’s biggest-ever win came on 22 October 1955, when Harry Hooper scored a hat-trick in a 6-1 Second Division victory at the Boleyn Ground. Meanwhile, Doncaster’s most-emphatic victory was on 17 October 1951, when they rank out 4-1 victors at Belle Vue.
Current first-team coach Kevin Nolan scored in both meetings with Doncaster Rovers during the 2011/12 Championship season – his first with West Ham United. Midfielder Nolan scored his first goal in Claret and Blue with the fifth-minute match-winner at the Keepmoat Stadium on 13 August 2011 (pictured), before opening the scoring nine minutes into the 1-1 draw at the Boleyn Ground on 10 March 2012. James Coppinger, who equalised for Rovers 17 minutes from full-time, is still a Doncaster player.
When it comes to the FA Cup, the Hammers have won the tournament on three occasions, in 1964, 1975 and 1980, and were runners-up in 1923 and 2006.
Doncaster have never reached the final, but they have reached the fifth round on five separate occasions – four times in five seasons between 1951/52 and 1955/56 and most recently in 2018/19.
By the numbers
6-1 West Ham United’s biggest win in the 24 fixtures between the two clubs was the 6-1 Second Division victory Ted Fenton’s side achieved at the Boleyn Ground on 22 October 1955. England B international winger Harry Hooper (pictured) grabbed a hat-trick, while Jimmy Andrews, Billy Dare and Ken Tucker also got their names on the scoresheet in front of a small crowd of just 13,303.
1 Vic Keeble celebrated his West Ham United debut by becoming the first and only player to score on their first appearance against Doncaster Rovers. The signing from Newcastle United netted in the 1-1 Second Division draw at the Boleyn Ground on 19 October 1957, before scoring in the return fixture on 1 March 1958. By then, the Hammers had gone top of the table and would go on to win the title and promotion back to the top-flight after a 36-year absence!
15 Legendary goalkeeper Ernie Gregory kept goal in 15 of the 24 previous meetings with Doncaster Rovers. Gregory’s first appearance against the Yorkshiremen came in a 1-0 Second Division defeat at Belle Vue on 6 September 1947, and the last was nearly a decade later, in a 2-1 Second Division win at the same stadium on 1 March 1958.
4 Four players have made their West Ham United debuts against Doncaster Rovers – Eric Armstrong in January 1948, Mick Newman in March 1957, Vic Keeble in October 1957 and Danny Collins in March 2012.
59 Former West Ham United youngster Grant McCann led Doncaster Rovers to the League One Play-Off semi-finals in 2018/19, where they were beaten by Lee Bowyer’s Charlton Athletic. In all, McCann won 27 of his 59 games in charge of today’s visitors, before leaving for Hull City in June 2019.
0 West Ham United are the only Premier League side not to be awarded a penalty so far this season, in any competition. The full list of Premier League penalties awarded in 2020/21 is as follows:
|Brighton & Hove Albion||6||5|
|West Bromwich Albion||2||2|
Referee: Robert Jones
Assistant Referees: Harry Lennard and Peter Kirkup
Fourth Official: Keith Stroud
VAR: Martin Atkinson
Assistant VAR: Sian Massey-Ellis
Merseysider Robert Jones takes charge of a West Ham United fixture for just the third time.
Jones previously refereed the 4-0 EFL Cup third-round defeat at Oxford United in September 2019 and the 1-0 Premier League win over Fulham at London Stadium in November 2020.
He has also refereed Doncaster Rovers on two occasions – a 3-1 League Two win over Leyton Orient in November 2016 and a 3-3 League One draw with Blackpool in August 2017.
Born in Wirral, Jones previously ran the line in more than 100 EFL matches before being promoted to Football League List of referees for the start of the 2016/17 season.
Affiliated to the Cheshire FA and Wirral Referees’ Association, Jones has enjoyed a rapid rise through the footballing pyramid.
He refereed the 2016 National League Play-Off final between Grimsby Town and Forest Green Rovers at Wembley, and returned to the Home of Football to take charge of the 2018 EFL League One Play-Off final between Rotherham United and Shrewsbury Town, and last season’s edition of the same fixture, which saw Wycombe Wanderers overcome Oxford.
Jones refereed Manchester City’s 3-0 victory over Birmingham City in the third round of this season’s Emirates FA Cup.