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Preview: West Ham v Blues

We will go down there and look to be very competitive and impose what we do rather than just watch what they do.

Garry Monk

Our full match preview ahead of Saturday's Emirates FA Cup third round tie against the Hammers at the London Stadium.

Garry Monk on the recent form of his side...
“I am very pleased. We took eight points from the 12, that’s a really positive return for us in what is a hugely demanding period for the players, especially with the squad we have. Their return of eight points is fantastic and led to a very positive period. We have still got this game, five in 14 days before it returns into a little bit of normality for three or four weeks. Everyone would have liked more points but eight points, unbeaten, scored six conceded one, that’s huge and we couldn’t have asked for much more.”

Garry Monk on how he will approach the game...
“I think it’s to enjoy it, we are playing against Premier League opposition, the highest quality squad we have faced this season, at their place, we have got nothing to lose. We will go down there with our travelling fans, we are taking a lot of numbers. I know there’s a lot of history with the two clubs, with the previous owners here but if I am honest it’s about going on to the pitch and pitting your wits against a high-quality squad and a Premier League team. We know if we can get it right on our side, we can pose difficulties, but we know what type of team we are facing. It’s going to be hugely difficult, but we want to give our travelling fans something to sing and shout about as we have this so many times this season.”

Garry Monk on his own experiences of playing in or managing teams in the FA Cup...
"I was lucky enough to win the League Cup, but in the the FA Cup it was maybe the quarter-final or the round before that I got to as a player. It's the best domestic cup competition in the world and always has been just because of what happens in it. The teams that are involved in it are from non-league right up to the top teams. The shocks it's produced over the years is the fantasy of it and that's why everyone loves the FA Cup. When you sit here as a manager and you've grown up with all of that, you don't think any less of it, you just have a different type of job to do because you're in it. If a manager changes the squad it's not out of disrespect, it's out of necessity. If it goes well for you then great and if it doesn't you have to bear the brunt for that. Your job is to do what you think is best for the team that you work with every single day to help them. But every game you want to compete and win."

Garry Monk on expecting to face a talented West Ham side even if they make lots of changes...
“That’s the luxury of a Premier League team, whatever changes they make it’s still international, high quality players. That’s why they have the squads they have. That will pose problems in itself, we need quite a lot of things to go for us if we are going to get the result we want but we will go down there and look to be very competitive and impose what we do rather than just watch what they do.”

West Ham boss Manuel Pellegrini's comments ahead of the game...
"It's important to rest players that played so many games in December but the FA Cup is important too. In this moment, we are at the beginning of the cup. We will try to continue in the FA Cup, like every other team in the league. It's another option to win a title and another opportunity to qualify for Europe, so we will fight until the end. Birmingham are near a spot in the play-offs and I think they will play tomorrow's game to their maximum effort."

Blues team news...
Garry Monk says he expects to name a strong starting line-up. Kristian Pedersen (ankle) is rated as only 50/50 to be available. Omar Bogle (calf) is likely to miss the game. Isaac Vassell (hip) is hoping to play his first football in more than 14 months, as he makes his comeback with the Under-23s against Barnsley on Saturday. David Davis (ankle) is still returning to fitness. On-loan players Connor Mahoney and Gary Gardner are both eligible to play.

West Ham team news...
Manuel Pellegrini is expected to rotate his squad and rest several players that played regularly during December. Former Arsenal and Manchester City midfielder Samir Nasri could make his first start for the Hammers since signing for them earlier this week. Striker Andy Carroll has recovered from a cut he received above his eye against Brighton and is likely to play some part.  

Last five meetings between West Ham and Blues...
Championship 09 Apr 2012 West Ham 3 Blues 3
Championship 26 Dec 2011 Blues 1 West Ham 1
Premier League 06 Feb 2011 West Ham 0 Blues 1
Carling Cup 26 Jan 2011 Blues 3 West Ham 1
Carling Cup 11 Jan 2011 West Ham 2 Blues 1

Form guide. Last five fixtures....
West Ham: WLWLD
Blues: DWWDD

Total meetings...
West Ham wins: 32
Blues wins: 40
Draws: 22

FA Cup meetings...
West Ham wins: 2
Blue wins: 1
Draws: 0

Ticket news...
Blues have sold out of our full allocation of 4,900 tickets for this game.

BluesTV…
Audio commentary for this game will be available, but due to FA broadcasting restrictions there will be no video coverage of the game on BluesTV. If you would like to subscribe to BluesTV, please click here.

Match officials…
Select Group referee Roger East will take charge of Saturday's game at the London Stadium. So far this season, the Wiltshire-based official has refereed 14 games where he has produced a total of 50 yellow cards and no reds. The last Blues game he refereed was our Sky Bet Championship away fixture at Stoke City in October 2018. Blues won that game 1-0 and there were three players cautioned; including Kristian Pedersen and Jota for Blues. The last West Ham he took charge of was their 4-2 Premier League home victory over Burnley in November 2018. Five players received yellow cards in that game; including Felipe Anderson for the Hammers. Mr East will be assisted by Dan Cook and Derek Eaton, with Alan Young acting as the fourth official.

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