Saturday's big match preview

West Ham Utd v Blackburn Saturday, January 30, 3pm Upton Park IF YOU could choose your first home game as new owners of West Ham, then a clash with Blackburn Rovers would certainly be close to the top of the tree. It is not because the opponents are parti

West Ham Utd v Blackburn

Saturday, January 30, 3pm

Upton Park

IF YOU could choose your first home game as new owners of West Ham, then a clash with Blackburn Rovers would certainly be close to the top of the tree.

It is not because the opponents are particularly bad.

Sam Allardyce's men have only just missed out on a place in the Carling Cup Final after a thriller against Aston Villa.

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It is not because Rovers are struggling at the foot of the Premier League. They currently sit five points and four places above the Hammers.

No, it is because their record at Upton Park is absolutely appalling.

Incredibly, West Ham have won their last 10 home league and cup games against the Lancastrians, a feat they have not managed against any other team in recent years.

Certainly Blackburn's away record this season does not suggest that they are likely to end that disastrous run.

They have won just one game on their travels this term - a 2-0 victory at Bolton in November, but they have managed just eight goals in all away from Ewood Park.

During that time they have lost at Sunderland, Everton, Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester United, Fulham, Birmingham City and Manchester City.

Even so, they still have some useful players in their ranks. David Dunn seems to be back to his best form and has already scored five goals from midfield this term.

Croatian Nikola Kalinic has managed five goals since his �6million signing from Hajduk Split, but all of them have come in the cup competitions, while Jason Roberts always seems to have a good game against the Hammers and scored Rovers goal in the 4-1 defeat at Upton Park last season.

That result certainly flattered the Hammers as two injury-time strikes from Craig Bellamy and Carlton Cole made victory much more emphatic than it perhaps should have been.

Earlier in this campaign, the two teams played out a goalless draw at Ewood Park and Blackburn would probably be happy for a similar score on Saturday.

Having let six goals in at Villa Park last week, that may be easier said than done though, and with Cole likely to make his first start of the New Year in this match, the signs, the occasion, as well as history, points towards a West Ham victory.

Allardyce would like nothing more than to turn over West Ham again. He seemed to make it his mission in life when he was at Bolton.

And so the Hammers will need to be firing on all cylinders to collect the points. I think they will.

POSSIBle team: Robinson, Chimbonda, Nelsen, Samba, Olsson, Givet, Dunn, Pedersen, Emerton, N'Zonzi, Kalinic.

Prediction:

West Ham 2 Blackburn 0

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