Writer: Gavin Cooper
Date:Wednesday January 16 2008
City of Manchester Stadium
16th January 2008
This a key game for both sides but I may stress that it is probably a bigger game for City as a victory tonight will help Sven persuade Dr Thaksin that City are fighting a place in Europe on two fronts and the added income benefit that can bring.
Sven on the importance of the FA Cup: 'We are not playing in Europe," he declares, 'we are not in the Carling Cup anymore, so the FA Cup is very important. We will try to stay in it for as long as possible - hopefully until May! We know that it`s very difficult and the way is very long, but we`ll try to go through and face Sheffield United.
'I`m happy that we are still in the cup first of all. We could have beaten West Ham away, I think we were the better team. Hopefully we`ll be that again and go through.
'We have met them twice already this season so we have learnt about them and we`ve had the videos on them as well.
'The important thing for us is that we try to play the football we practice at Carrington from the first minute. If we do that I think we will be okay.'
He then goes on to talk about the dreaded penalties: 'I had a good record in other countries if not over here. I think we are prepared for that because when we play out there [training pitch], every time it`s a draw, we have a penalty shoot-out. So we practice that a lot, but they are always difficult because after 90 plus 30 minutes on the pitch you can`t prepare who`s going to take them beforehand.'
The big question is whether Nery Castillo is going to play alongside Elano or just go with the Brazilian on his own?
Rolando Bianchi, Stephen Ireland and Gelson Fernandes all came on as substitutes at Goodison Park and will be hoping for starting berths.
Michael Johnson (abdominal strain) and Emile Mpenza (hamstring) are both ruled out through injury.
Valeri Bojinov remains sidelined with a knee injury but is set to resume training before the end of the month.
He has been great for us the last month or so and he can scare right backs into submission.
Alan Curbishley's injury worries are beginning to ease and he should be able to welcome back captain Lucas Neill following a hamstring problem.
Julien Faubert made a brief debut late on against Fulham and could again make the squad as he continues his comeback from a ruptured Achilles.
Lee Bowyer and Luis Boa Morte will both be pushing for places in the side after substitute appearances on Saturday while James Collins is pressing for a start in the centre of defence.
However, Scott Parker (knee), Nolberto Solano (groin), Bobby Zamora (knee) and Craig Bellamy (abdominal) are all still out.
Should he play he can cause defences a lot of problems with his ability to use his power and strengths in the right areas as he did two seasons ago here in the quarter finals.
This is the fourth FA cup match that the two sides have met and City have yet to beat West Ham in this competition.
But City have only been beaten once in thirteen games and so it will be a tough ask for West Ham to break that trend.
West Ham come to City on the back of a victory over Fulham where they came from one nil down to win two one; where as City come into this match after a five match unbeaten run they played very poorly at Everton and lost.
Mark Clattenburg - his second City match this season; his first was the victorious Manchester Derby. It is also West Ham's second game; their first being a five nil thrashing away to Derby.
West Ham to run City very close but a late one nil victory for City in either normal or extra time.
West Ham again at Home on Sunday with a 4pm kick off on Sky.
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Date:Wednesday January 16 2008
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