West Ham take a break from their difficult Premier League campaign as they prepare to host Burney in the FA Cup, with the Hammers hoping for a morale-boosting win. The Clarets are in a good form at the moment, but they are still rated underdogs in this clash.
Great comeback against West Brom
West Ham remained in the relegation zone as they shared spoils with rivals West Brom, but the Hammers can, nevertheless, take a lot of positives from the match seeing they earned the draw despite being three goals down at half-time. The impressive second-half performance proved the Hammers definitely have enough quality to stay alive, with new signing Demba Ba also showing he will be a big asset to Avram Grant’s squad. Even though Premiership survival remains the priority, West Ham are expected to take the Burnley game very seriously and try to record a morale-boosting victory. The boss has no reason to rest some of the starters as their next games comes six days after the Burnley tie, so I expect him to field a very strong side in this clash.
Thomas Hitzlsperger is likely to start after the lengthy spell on the sidelines, while Danny Gabbidon and James Tomkins should also be in contention. Victor Obinna is doubtful with a foot injury, while Matthew Upson, Robbie Keane, Kieron Dyer, Junior Stanislas, Jack Collison and Peer Kuruzc remain in the infirmary. Gary O’Neill is cup-tied.
Burnley chasing promotion places
Despite the impressive start to the last Premiership campaign, Burnley couldn’t escape the drop and they thus swiftly returned to the Championship. The Clarets needed time to get used to again playing in English second tier and they had a pretty slow start to their league campaign. Coach Brian Laws was replaced with 33-year-old Eddie Howe at the beginning of January and the change of personnel seems to have done the trick as the results have improved since. Burnley sit in eight place at the moment, six points behind the promotion places, albeit with a game in hand, meaning the league campaign is still the priority. However, the Clarets will give their best at the Boleyn Ground and try to maybe cause an upset.
New signings Charlie Austin and Marvin Bately are cup-tied, while Martin Paterson and Chris McCann are long-term worries. David Edgar could be in contention after his loan move to Swansea failed to materialize.
West Ham have been showing signs of improvement lately and seeing they desperately need a win to get back on the right track, I believe the Hammers will take this game very seriously. Burnley, too, will try to get a positive result, but I don’t think they have what it takes to stop the Hammers from winning this match.
Our prediction: Home win
Odds: 1.95 (19/20)