Hammers’ second string must step up if they are to beat Forest

Form of Forest should be a worry for the Hammers

The opposition

NOTTINGHAM FOREST come into Sunday’s FA Cup Fourth Round tie in great form and confident of pulling off a cup shock.

The Championship club are currently sixth in the table after four wins on the spin and with as many as three games in hand over their rivals should be confident of remaining in the play-off places for the campaign.

They are unbeaten since November and away from the City Ground have picked up four wins so far.


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Their latest triumph was a 1-0 victory over fierce rivals Derby County, who they have now beaten twice this season.

Robert Earnshaw (below) came off the bench to score the winner against his old club and will be hopingto be given a start at Upton Park on Sunday.

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The Welshman is a top striker in the Championship and is probably one of the finest finishers at that level and will be disappointed he has scored only four goals this season.

Lewis McGugan has scored 10 goals from midfield with many of them eye-catching and his rise from squad player to indispensible has been a huge plus for boss Billy Davies.

Key to the game

FOREST are a solid, athletic side all over the park and whoever leads the line, will do well to win a physical battle against the powerful centre half Wes Morgan.

The Hammers pushed men forward last Saturday against Everton and it worked, they dominated the midfield and a similar story on Sunday will be at the heart of a potential victory.

The Hammers must deal with the energetic McGugan, whose engine and runs into the box are a great asset to his side.

Nathan Tyson has been excellent playing on the left for Forest and with West Ham vulnerable in that area, its key the visitors utilise the advantage.

Verdict

WEST HAM are unlikely to field a first XI with so many important games in a short space of time and with Forest in such good form a cup upset cannot be ruled out.

However, paper even the Hammers’ second string should be too good for Forest and you would expect them to progress, with those involved keen to make an impression with boss Grant.

Prediction: West Ham 2 Forest 1

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