MX23RW : Tuesday, October 27 03:32:04| >> :600:114059:114059:
Feb 21, 2016 at 2pm UK at Ewood Park
BlackburnBlackburn Rovers
West HamWest Ham United
Marshall (20')
FT(HT: 1-2)
Moses (26'), Payet (36', 92'), Emenike (64', 85')

Preview: Blackburn Rovers vs. West Ham United

Sports Mole provides the lowdown ahead of Sunday's FA Cup fifth-round tie between Blackburn Rovers and West Ham United.

With West Ham United going so well in their final season at the Boleyn Ground, there is a good chance of coupling their strong Premier League form with a run to the latter stages of the FA Cup.

They are not at home this weekend, but they will be favourites to overcome Championship side Blackburn Rovers in the fifth round.


Blackburn Rovers players celebrate after Craig Conway scored during the Sky Bet Championship match between Leeds United and Blackburn Rovers on October 29, 2015© Getty Images

A big sigh of relief greeted Rovers' 3-0 win over Fulham in midweek. It was their first in 10 league matches and helped move them eight points clear of the Championship's relegation zone.

A much-needed boost, but it is hard to see Blackburn's form really changing with five of their next seven league games against top-eight sides along with the fact that they lost star player Jordan Rhodes to Middlesbrough earlier this month just before the transfer window shut.

In the FA Cup, Blackburn have eliminated Premier League opposition at this stage in two of the last three seasons, though they went on to fall at the quarter-finals both times.

They have won the competition on six occasions - only six clubs have won it more - but the last of those was 88 years ago in 1928.

This year they have come through a pair of away ties against League Two duo Newport County and Oxford United to reach the last 16.

Recent form: WDWDLW

West Ham

Enner Valencia of West Ham United celebrates after scoring his team's second goal against Manchester City at the Boleyn Ground on January 23, 2016© Getty Images

It is 36 years since West Ham last won a trophy, when they triumphed in the FA Cup for a third time in 1986, but some feel that the stars are aligning for them to succeed this year as they wave goodbye to the Boleyn Ground.

In the fourth round there was one of the more memorable moments in recent years when Angelo Ogbonna thundered home a 120th-minute header to prevent the tie with Liverpool going to penalties and send the Hammers through to the last 16, a stage that they have not got past in five years.

However, they should feel confident of getting past Rovers given that they have won 12 of their last 14 FA Cup games against lower-league opposition.

In the league West Ham are seventh and only one point behind Manchester United in fifth, but last weekend they had to come from two goals down to salvage a point at Norwich City.

Including that draw at Carrow Road, Slaven Bilic's side have won just one of their last 10 away games in all competitions (D5, L4).

One player who knows Blackburn pretty well from his recent days in the Championship is Michail Antonio, and the winger scored twice in his last appearance against the Lancashire outfit - a 3-3 draw with Nottingham Forest last season.

Recent form: DDWLWD

Team News

Manuel Lanzini of West Ham United celebrates scoring his team's first goal during the Barclays Premier League match between West Ham United and Everton at Boleyn Ground on November 7, 2015 in London, England.© Getty Images

Hammers defender Sam Byram is cup-tied having played for Leeds United last month before his move to East London, but Manuel Lanzini could feature after six weeks on the sidelines with a thigh injury.

Bilic will also be without forwards Andy Carroll and Enner Valencia, who have adductor and ankle problems respectively, so Emmanuel Emenike is likely to make his first start.

New Blackburn loan signing Matt Grimes was an unused substitute in midweek but is cup-tied so cannot make his debut here, but fellow midfielder Hope Akpan could return after illness.

Danny Graham is also ineligible to play, so Simeon Jackson and Tony Watt will fight it out to join Chris Brown up top.

Blackburn possible starting lineup:
Steele; Marshall, Duffy, Hanley, Spurr; Bennett, Lenihan, Evans, Gomez; Brown, Watt

West Ham possible starting lineup:
Randolph; Oxford, Collins, Ogbonna, Cresswell; Noble, Song, Obiang; Moses, Emenike, Payet

Head To Head

West Ham are unbeaten in their last 11 matches against Blackburn in all competitions, although the last five meetings have all been draws.

On the four occasions that Blackburn have hosted West Ham in the FA Cup they have won just once.

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We say: Blackburn 0-2 West Ham

Having knocked Liverpool out in such memorable fashion, West Ham will not want to go out with a whimper here and Blackburn should not pose much of a threat for Bilic's boys.


Who will reach the quarter-finals, Blackburn or West Ham?

West Ham
Draw (replay needed)
West Ham
Draw (replay needed)
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Slaven Bilic points and shouts during the FA Cup fourth-round replay between West Ham United and Liverpool on February 9, 2016
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