It's Hammer time. West Ham preview

Last updated : 26 February 2004 By Michael Morris
City face one of last seasons Premierships teams for the last time this season. So far from the 5 games played against West Brom, Sunderland and West Ham - City have W 1, D 3, L 1. Not a bad record against more established higher Division teams.

The trip to London is one of the most anticipated away games for travelling City fans this season.

City could find this trip to the Boleyn Ground the toughest of the lot. Not just because it's West Ham or because it's going to be the biggest crowd we've played in front of since the play off final but also because of history.

The last time City won against the Hammers in their own back yard was a black and white encounter on April 15th, 1950. That's over half a cenrury ago. City won 1 - 0 but since then from 8 league visits there have been 4 draws and 4 West Ham wins and in the Cup City have not won in 3 visits.

Cardiff go there as underdogs. West Ham are viewing this game as another home banker on their way to the play offs. I hope the complacency their fans seem to have rubs off on the players and we do what Fulham did in midweek and come away with a win.

City have play off ambitions of their own, West Ham are only actually 3 points ahead of the Bluebirds and a City win would see us climb above them. The earlier meeting this season ended 0 - 0 at Ninian Park.

Since the opening of the transfer window West Ham have lost Jermaine Defoe to Tottenham and David James to Man City. They have strengthened with Nigel Reo Coker and Jobi McAnuff from Wimbledon, Andy Melville from Fulham and they have former City loan player Stephen Bywater in goal. They have also taken a name very familiar to City fans. Bobby Zamora joined the Hammers as part of the Defoe move to Spurs.

Earlier in the season West Ham took Marlon Harewood from Forest and he, along with Zamora, Brian Deane and David Connolly provide the Hammers attack.

West Ham maybe without skipper Christian Dailly. The defender had 14 stitches in a wound to his forehead in the midweek cup defeat by Fulham.

More team news will follow later today or on Friday.

The referee selected for this match is George Cain from Merseyside. He's not taken a City game this season but from the 22 games he has officiated this season he's issued only 29 yellow and 4 red cards.

Last season Mr Cain was in charge of the farce that was Huddersfield v Cardiff City at the McAlpine. Report here.

City have sold all their tickets for the game. It's another where fans have to be escorted from Cardiff on coaches and those from around the country have to meet at selected locations before the final parade into East London. As such it's an 8am start on a bus from Cardiff.