This won’t be a long preview as I’m not sure there’s a lot to say. In the form we are in we should expect to win this game and win it well. But we’re West Ham and we know things often don’t turn out like that in the FA Cup. I honestly don’t expect many changes to what has now become a fairly settled lineup. The midfield picks itself. Only in central defence may Zola decide to make a change, giving James Tomkins a runout in place of either Upson or Collins. After his goal and bright performance last week it would be odd if Di Michele didn’t start. However, if we’re a couple of goals to the good in the second half I’d expect Zola to make some imaginative use of his substitutes. Freddie Sears needs a game, in particular.
Apparently, we have never played Hartlepool in a competitive game before. Let’s make it one that Jeff Stelling won’t forget in a hurry – but for the wrong reasons!
* If you are wondering about the headline, it’s nothing to do with what you were probably thinking but a reference to the fact that the Hartlepool mascot H’Angus the Monkey was elected mayor of the town. Really.
UPDATE: Sky Sports have just sent me a text saying that our team lineup is: Lee-Barrett, Sweeney, Nelson, Clark, Humphreys, Monkhouse, Jones, Liddle, Robson, Mackay, Porter. Have I missed something in the transfer window?
UPDATE: This is the real lineup: Green, Faubert, Tomkins, Collins, Ilunga, Behrami, Noble, Parker, Collison, Di Michele, Cole. Subs: Stech, Spector, Neill, Mullins,
Boa Morte, Tristan, Sears