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West Ham prediction

The first of a tricky pair of games in the space of five days against the Hammers with both contests having a great deal at stake given our defeat last weekend at Everton.

However, first up is a reprise of our FA Cup quarter final clash of two years ago for the right to travel to Bramhall Lane in round four.

Both sides I expect to field full-strength sides (injuries permitting) as both Sven and Alan Curbishley have indicated a desire to do well in the competition.

Team wise Michael Johnson (abdominal strain) and Emile Mpenza (hamstring) are both ruled out through injury, but for the Hammers captain Lucas Neill is expected to be available after a hamstring injury. However, Scott Parker (knee), Nolberto Solano (groin), Bobby Zamora (knee) and Craig Bellamy (abdominal) are all out still out for the Hammers.

This one is really tough to call, a view shared by the opposition camp, and West Ham have a formidable record at this stage - having not been beaten since 1999/2000 at this stage and only seen four defeats in twenty-four seasons.

Our home record is superb this season (Tottenham aside) and Sven may have delivered a little rocket following his displeasure at the manner of the defeat at Everton, which I feel may be enough to spark a victory - but it may well go the full distance, and will not feature many goals.