West Ham look to bounce back against Barnsley
Barnsley come to Upton Park on Saturday as the FA Cup kicks into gear with the third round.
STRIKER Gary O’Connor was hoping to take on West Ham in the semi-final of the Carling Cup next week.
The former Birmingham City marksman played in their lucky fourth round victory over Brentford at St Andrews, but after his permanent move to Oakwell on New Year’s Day, he will be lining up for Barnsley against the Hammers in the FA Cup third round.
The Scotland international is likely to be a handful for the West Ham defence, and the one to watch, especially if Barnsley boss Mark Robins takes the opportunity to rest star man Adam Hammill.
The impressive right winger, who went through the Liverpool Academy, already has eight goals to his name this season to make him top scorer, but with Premier League clubs, including West Ham, lining up to sign the speedster, Barnsley may want to avoid him being cup-tied.
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A lot of Barnsley’s team is built on loan players at the moment and they will be hoping that the likes of Kieran Trippier, Matt Hill and Diego Arismendi will be given permission to play on Saturday or they may be a bit short.
The Tykes certainly haven’t been too impressive this season. They sit 16th in the Championship table despite Monday’s 2-1 victory over Coventry City.
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They have won just two away games all season, taking the points at Preston and Ipswich within four days in November.
But they were dumped out of the Carling Cup at home to Rochdale and all in all it has been a disappointing campaign.
Two seasons ago Barnsley were beaten 3-0 by the Hammers at the same stage of the competition, with Herita Ilunga, Mark Noble and Carlton Cole on target, while the time before that it was a 6-0 drubbing for the Yorkshiremen.
The signs do not look good for Barnsley, especially if Hammill is ‘rested’ and though West Ham will have to guard against complacency, they should book their place in the next round.
Possible team: Steele, Foster, Shackell, Hassell, Hill, Trippier, Doyle, Lovre, Hammill, Arismendi, O’Connor.
West Ham 3 Barnsley 1