West Ham previews from the press

Last updated : 24 October 2003 By Michael Morris

Lennie's warning to Hammers

LENNIE LAWRENCE last night told West Ham they will face a different Cardiff City side on Saturday compared to the one that crumbled in the Carling Cup last month.

The Hammers arrive at Ninian Park on the weekend looking for their second win of the season on City's turf.

The East London club will be more than satisfied with a repeat of their 3-2 Carling Cup win over the Bluebirds on September 23 to keep their promotion charge on track.

But Bluebirds chief Lawrence said, "Saturday's match will be entirely different to that cup game.

"For the Carling Cup match I rotated a few players. Martyn Margetson played in goal, although he did well that night.

"It was Danny Gabbidon's first game back after missing five or six weeks with a heel injury. I also gave Mark Bonner a start and it was also Jason Bowen's first game of the season."

City were 2-0 up at half-time, courtesy of a Robert Earnshaw brace, but it was the visitors who made it into the third round draw thanks to Jermain Defoe's second-half hat-trick.
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Lawrence: "Earnie can be better than Defoe"

CARDIFF CITY boss Lennie Lawrence last night told Bluebirds ace Robert Earnshaw, "You can become a better player than Jermain Defoe."

The Wales marksman will tomorrow go head-to-head with West Ham's £10m-rated striker when the Hammers visit the Welsh capital in a First Division showdown.

The pair have already been involved in one personal duel this season, in a Carling Cup tie last month.

Defoe came out on top on that occasion, scoring a hat-trick in West Ham's 3-2 victory at Ninian Park.

But Earnie, who scored both City's goals that night, will be looking to get even with Defoe and his West Ham team-mates in the first league match between the two clubs for 21 years.

Lawrence rates Defoe, who has been linked with a move to Manchester United, as the best forward in Division One.

But he said, "Earnie can become a better player than Defoe.
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Brooking: "Earnie and Defoe are real deal"

TREVOR BROOKING has spoken of how being loaned out to little Grenock Morton in Scotland has helped Rob Earnshaw take the football world by storm.

And Brooking draws an analogy with Jermaine Defoe, who comes to Ninian Park on Saturday with West Ham for the TV showdown with Cardiff City.

The last time Earnie and Defoe were on the pitch together, they were involved in a thrilling personal goal shootout.

Earnshaw scored twice for the Bluebirds, but Defoe responded with a second-half hat-trick as the Hammers beat Cardiff 3-2 in the Carling Cup.

Brooking anticipates another mouth-watering duel in the league on Saturday, saying, "The two of them are such similar players, in many respects.

"Defoe has the edge because, unlike Earnshaw, he has had a full season in the Premiership.
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