Dan Coker's Match Preview

Match Preview: West Ham v Norwich

Blast from the past

Today’s blast from the past features a 4-2 victory at home against this weekend’s opponents, Norwich City; it arrived on New Year’s Day 1974 in front of 32,259 spectators. Slade were number one with ‘Merry Xmas Everybody’, Paul Newman and Robert Redford were in UK cinemas in The Sting, New Year’s Day was celebrated as a public holiday for the first time and The Three-Day Week was introduced by the Conservative government as a measure to conserve electricity during the period of industrial action by coal miners, lasting until 7th March. Two days later, the Jimmy Perry and David Croft sitcom It Ain’t Half Hot Mum made its debut on BBC television.

Less than a month prior to this encounter with the Canaries, Graham Paddon and Ted MacDougall had swapped clubs, Paddon moving to the Hammers in exchange for MacDougall and £30,000 – the deal was rated at £170,000. Both Paddon (pictured below) and MacDougall bagged a brace apiece against their former employers in this match – for the 23-year-old Paddon, these were the first of his 15 goals for the club in a stay which would last until November 1976, when he was transferred back to Norwich for £110,000 after making 152 appearances for the Irons. With both clubs struggling at the foot of the First Division table, the points were crucial and, added to Paddon’s double, further goals from Bobby Gould and Trevor Brooking ensured the Hammers picked up a vital 4-2 victory.

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The Canaries ended up bottom and were relegated at the end of the 1973/74 season. The Hammers finished in 18th position, avoiding relegation by two places and one point. Billy Bonds was voted Hammer of the Year for the second time and was joint-leading scorer with Clyde Best on 13 goals, Leeds were First Division champions and Liverpool won the FA Cup.

West Ham United: Mervyn Day, John McDowell, Tommy Taylor, Bobby Moore, Frank Lampard, Mick McGiven, Billy Bonds, Trevor Brooking (Keith Coleman), Graham Paddon, Bobby Gould, Clyde Best.

Club Connections

A long list of players have turned out for both West Ham United and Norwich City over the years. Robert Snodgrass welcomes his former club to east London, while Sam Byram returns to the club he left in the summer. Other players who have appeared for both clubs include:

Goalkeeper: Robert Green.

Defenders: Edward Wagstaff, Malky Mackay, John Gurkin, Elliott Ward, John McDowell, Kenny Brown, Calum Davenport, Fred Milnes, Charlie Craig, Mark Bowen, Steve Walford.

Midfielders: Bill Silor, Luke Chadwick, Matt Jarvis, Martin Peters, Gary O’Neil, Billy Linward, Henri Lansbury, Scott Parker, David Bentley, Dale Gordon, Johnny Sissons, Jimmy Neighbour, Graham Paddon, Matthew Rush.

Strikers: Billy Ingham, Justin Fashanu, Albert Foan, David Cross, Alex Birnie, Craig Bellamy, Freddie Kearns, John Hartson, Les Robinson, Tony Cottee, Ron Williams, Ted MacDougall, Alan Taylor, Dean Ashton.

In addition, Glenn Roeder has managed both clubs while ex-Hammers Ken Brown, Archie Macauley, John Bond and Chris Hughton have managed Norwich.

This week’s focus though is on a player who spent his early twenties with the Hammers before representing the Canaries later in his career. Keith Robson was born on the 15th November 1953 in Hetton-le-Hole, County Durham, and began his career with Newcastle before moving to Ron Greenwood’s West Ham United in 1974 for £60,000. His arrival, alongside that of Billy Jennings from Watford, sparked an extraordinary scoring spree with the Hammers netting a remarkable 20 goals in just four games during a ten-day period. The 20-year-old Robson made his debut against Tranmere on 18th September 1974 in a 6-0 League Cup second round replay win at the Boleyn Ground. He scored his first Hammers goal in his next match just three days later, a 6-2 home victory over Leicester and notched another in a 3-0 win over Birmingham in the following game. His first goals away from Upton Park soon arrived as he bagged a brace in a 5-3 win at Burnley. Robson made it five goals in four games with another in a 2-2 home draw with Derby on 5th October 1974.

The aggressive forward also scored with a header in a 3-0 win over Middlesbrough at the Boleyn on 2nd November 1974 and followed that with a point-earning strike in a 1-1 draw at Liverpool three weeks later. A Boxing Day goal secured a 1-1 draw with Tottenham at Upton Park before he scored in a 2-1 defeat at Leeds on 11th January 1975. Two more goals followed before the end of the season, one in a 2-1 home win over QPR which secured a quarter-final place in the FA Cup and another in a 2-1 home win over Burnley. A thigh injury sustained in March was to end Robson’s season however, keeping him out of the FA Cup semi-final and the Wembley victory over Fulham in the Final. Robson had scored 11 goals in 30 appearances for the Hammers in the 1974/75 season, none more important than that FA Cup fifth round winner over QPR, a looping header over future Hammers goalkeeper Phil Parkes.

Robson (pictured), a skilful but temperamental player who had his fair share of flare-ups with opponents and referees, put that disappointment behind him early the following season – he did make a belated Wembley appearance, as a substitute in the 2-0 Charity Shield defeat against Derby, and scored the winner in a 1-0 home victory over Tottenham on 25th August 1975. He scored in a 3-0 European Cup Winners’ Cup first round second leg triumph over Finnish side Lahden Reipas at Upton Park on 1st October 1975 and continued his 1975/76 cup exploits by bagging another goal in a 3-0 League Cup third round home win over Darlington a week later. The following round of the Cup Winners’ Cup saw the Hammers paired with Soviet side Ararat Erevan and Robson was on the scoresheet again, converting a back-post header in a 3-1 home win in the second leg on 5th November 1975. His goal against Coventry, again at the Boleyn, secured a 1-1 draw three days later and lifted the Hammers to the top of the First Division table.

Robson was sent off two days after Christmas 1975 in a 2-1 home defeat to Ipswich; already booked for a vicious sliding tackle on Clive Woods, he punched George Burley after being fouled from behind and was dismissed. He went over five months without a goal as the Hammers plummeted in the league but arguably his finest hour in claret and blue was to come on 14th April 1976 – in one of the great Upton Park nights under the lights, Robson’s scorcher from distance was crucial in helping the Irons to a 3-1 European Cup Winners’ Cup semi-final second leg victory over Eintracht Frankfurt, overturning a 2-1 first leg deficit to win 4-3 on aggregate. Still on a high, Robson made it two goals in two games three days later in a 2-2 home draw with Aston Villa.

Robson’s final goal for West Ham was scored in the Cup Winners’ Cup Final against Anderlecht at the Heysel Stadium on 5th May 1976 – his first goal away from Upton Park for 16 months. His near-post header levelled the match at 2-2 but the Belgians, inspired by future Hammer Francois Van der Elst, would go on to win 4-2. It was Robson’s eighth goal in his 49th appearance of the season.

Robson’s 1976/77 campaign was disrupted by injury as he made only ten appearances, without scoring. His disciplinary record again came under the spotlight as he was publicly criticised by chairman Reg Pratt after being booked in a League Cup loss to QPR in October 1976. He played his last game for the Hammers in a 6-0 defeat at Sunderland on 5th March 1977, a game later described by manager John Lyall as one of the worst team performances in his time at the club. Following a loan spell with Team Hawaii, and after scoring 19 goals in 89 appearances for West Ham United, Robson was sold to Second Division Cardiff in August 1977. Six of these 19 goals can be viewed in my video below.

After just six months at Cardiff, the 24-year-old Robson returned to the top flight, signing for John Bond’s Norwich in February 1978 for £25,000. Reunited with former Hammers team-mate Graham Paddon, Robson was also later joined by familiar faces in the shape of John McDowell and Alan Taylor, while West Ham legend Martin Peters was also already at Carrow Road when Robson signed. Three mid-table finishes (13th, 16th and 12th) were recorded under Bond’s management after Robson’s arrival but, after another former Hammer Ken Brown took over in October 1980, the Canaries were relegated at the end of the 1980/81 season, swapping places with the Hammers who stormed to the Second Division title that season. Robson scored 14 goals in 71 appearances for Norwich but left the club in September 1981, signing for Second Division Leicester.

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After a spell on loan to Carlisle, Robson moved to Hong Kong to play for the South China Athletic Association. He returned to Norfolk in 1983, playing for Norwich Busmen, Corinthian-Casuals and Wroxham, where he became assistant manager in 1993/94. He also worked as a machinist at Impress Metal Packing Co. Now 65, Robson is a visitor to London Stadium and has also guested at events run by Any Old Irons, the West Ham United Foundation programme providing free events for over-65s.

Referee

Saturday’s referee is 38-year-old Paul Tierney. The Lancashire-based official has refereed the Hammers on five previous occasions. His most recent Irons appointment was our 2-0 home defeat to Everton in March. He also refereed our 3-0 win at Newcastle in December.

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Tierney’s first West Ham appointment was for the 1-1 draw with Everton in November 2015 which saw James McCarthy’s tackle on Dimitri Payet put the Frenchman out of action for two months. His second Irons game was our 0-0 draw at West Brom in September 2017, when he chose to issue just a yellow card to Ben Foster for his late tackle on Javier Hernandez. He also refereed our goalless draw at Shrewsbury in the third round of the FA Cup in January 2018.

Possible line-ups

West Ham United are without Winston Reid and Michail Antonio but Javier Hernandez is available.

Norwich City could be without centre-halves Christoph Zimmermann and Timm Klose as well as winger Onel Hernandez but centre-forward Josip Drmic may be available. Norwich have a win and two defeats from their three Premier League matches so far and were knocked out of the League Cup by League Two Crawley this week. Striker Teemu Pukki has five goals from his first three games of the season.

Possible West Ham United XI: Fabianski; Fredericks, Diop, Ogbonna, Masuaku; Rice, Noble; Yarmolenko, Lanzini, Anderson; Haller.

Possible Norwich City XI: Krul; Aarons, Hanley, Godfrey, Lewis; Trybull, Leitner; Buendia, Stiepermann, Cantwell; Pukki.

Enjoy the game – Up The Hammers!


Nigel Kahn’s Column

Financially Dead and Bury'ed

In 1885 Bury football club was formed, in 2019 it was wiped off the face of the football planet, stuck with an owner that was unable to prove he had the funds to see it through the season. The Football League gave up extending its deadline when potential buyers walked away at the last minute.

I’m sure there is more to come out about who and what conspired to run this club into the ground but now it becomes a cautionary tale to all football fans outside of supporting the biggest clubs how a club should live within its means, only spending what it can afford. As it seems Bury have for years lived beyond their means, spending what they didn’t have. Perhaps what makes this even harder is they won promotion and therefore were looking at an increase on their income by playing in a higher division.

Many of us older generation of fans lay claim that football didn’t start in 1992 with the formation of the Premier League, it existed long before then. Commentators these days seem to only mention Premier League records, when giving fill information during a game. This is for me a slap in the face of those that went before, but the (E)PL is the paymaster now, not us fans.

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Years ago, before the PL we didn’t have the wall to wall coverage on TV. There was a TV deal that included live TV games and highlight packages, that money was paid to the Football league who redistributed the money more evenly through all the leagues, not just the top division who it was deemed most armchair fans wanted to watch. The greed of the bigger clubs in creating the Premier League was all about taking more control of the TV money.

I’M ALL RIGHT JACK, SOD THE REST

Ten years ago, West ham were struggling financially, we were owned by a bank that inherited us as a bad debt. The bank itself was struggling as the Icelandic banking system helped push the world into recession, not just West Ham. Gold and Sullivan managed to win the three-way competition to buy us and then set about trying to right the sinking ship, as the finances were dragging the club down.

They claimed on the day they bought the club we were £100 million in debt and were still finding more. The debt racked up in just 3 years by owners who were chasing a dream of propelling the club into places they had threatened to be in in the past, but never achieved it regularly.

Part of the Daves’ mantra when buying the club was a 7-year plan to put us in the Champions League, achieved off the back no less by moving the club into a larger stadium they didn’t have to pay to build. 10 tears, sorry years, on we as a club are no nearer in my opinion reaching that goal, more because football finances at the top of the PL tree is outstripping the finances of those below them in the same league, let alone the lower league clubs.

The Daves for years have been criticised by many for their tight grip on the purse strings at the club, Even this season many while welcoming the big money (for West ham) spent on two players, still bemoaned the fact they only net spent around £35 million against the £120 odd million earned by its membership of the PL last season.

Those that listen to Moore than Just a Podcast will have heard me repeatedly say that clubs should only spend what they earn. No club should be bankrolled by a sugar daddy owner. I don’t want the Daves putting their own money into the club as at some point they will want it back and that is where trouble begins. Too many fans think that the club’s money is the same as the owner’s money and vice versa. It’s not, they are separate entities and as such should be treated that way. Football needs to look now with the loss of Bury at the way football clubs are funded and bring in legislation to protect clubs from being saddled with owner’s debts or other debts that could be unsustainable in the event of relegation of any league.

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Fans also need to understand that money can not or should not be thrown around like confetti at a wedding, in the attempt to take them to whatever their perceived next level is, be it promotion or qualification for Europe regularly as our goal was supposed to be.

Don’t misunderstand me here. While I’ll defend the owners in the cautious way they spend money I still look forward to the day they leave. I just hope they don’t leave us financially in the mess many other clubs, just as loved by their fans as we do ours, were left in.

Bury’s demise should be a warning to football, not just those lower down the scale.


Talking Point

Haller be thy name

My Saturday afternoon consisted of a family shopping trip, meaning I had to follow the opening 45 minutes at Vicarage Road via my brothers phone. Ordinarily I would obviously use my own phone, however I had run out of data! To my brother’s annoyance, every 10 minutes I asked for an update. To be honest, after Gray’s equalising goal I did not really check up on the game but the pessimist in me assumed we’d be trailing at half time.

We arrived home as the second half kicked off. By all accounts, Watford started the second half with a couple of chances and I feared the worst. I’m definitely an advocate of free flowing attacking football, but too much pressure is put on Declan Rice to intercept opposing attacks it appears. After the Watford goal, Noble was shouting at the attacking quartet to work back. Creative players such as Anderson and Lanzini do need to consistently track back otherwise we will be left far too exposed and concede unnecessarily.

I was pacing around the house nervously during the early stages of the second half. I was just expecting the inevitable notification from BBC Sport to appear saying Watford 2-1 up, and had it not been for a staggering Will Hughes miss I would have had that notification appear! Thanks Will for putting in an early entrant for the miss of the season, greatly appreciated by West Ham fans!

I was with my Dad listening to the radio when we heard there had been a second half goal, thankfully it was our record signing getting off the mark in the Premier League! Upon watching the MOTD highlights, I really enjoyed Haller’s goal to make it 1-2 to us. Whilst his acrobatic bicycle kick was undoubtedly impressive and a great relief, his first was a proper striker’s finish. I am not convinced at all that Arnautovic would have scored that tap in from Anderson’s cross, mainly because he wouldn’t have made that run. In Haller we have a powerful talisman who can win aerial duels, but he picks up great positions and makes the right runs. Arnie was always a winger converted into a striker, and to be fair did well for us for awhile but Haller has the instincts of a forward. The Frenchman will be integral this campaign, he’s going to score important goals and become a fan favourite (if he’s not already!)

I will avoid going over well trodden ground with regards to captain fantastic, Mark Noble. The man from Canning Town makes us better and motivates players when necessary. You have to feel that we missed an opportunity in the summer window because we should have looked to take the burden off the captain. The No. 16 will continue to put in exemplary performances in the engine room with his underrated passing, however we should not have to rely on the 32 year old as much as we do.

Definitely still work to be done on the defence, and whilst a run of games for a back four is ideal, I wonder whether Balbuena may regain his place sooner rather than later. I’ve always liked Ogbonna, he seems like a funny guy, and an experienced international at the end of the day. He has mistakes in him, and I’ve always felt he’s more comfortable in a back 3 which was the regular formation when he got a game at Juventus. But I hope the Italian stays in the team and makes it hard for Balbuena to regain his place.

Based on the opening three results for both us and Norwich, our next Premier League opponents, you would predict a fair amount of goals. If we can tighten up the defence perhaps in our second home fixture of the season we can keep a clean sheet, but that unfortunately seems unlikely.

Norwich have impressed me thus far, like us they play an attacking brand of football and showed very positive signs despite losing to both Liverpool and Chelsea respectively. I hope the Pukki party does not continue at the London Stadium…

After watching the Canaries’ lose to Lampard’s Chelsea on BT in the early kick off last weekend, I saw areas our attack can definitely exploit. Farke likes to push the full backs Aarons and Lewis high and wide which could leave space for Anderson and probably Antonio to attack. Similarly, I was impressed by the young centre back, Godfrey, however Grant Hanley is a championship level defender and I think Haller can give them real problems. The less accomplished Tammy Abraham grabbed a brace and they couldn’t deal with his physical presence and hold up play, so I would hope our No. 22 can capitalise on their potential weaknesses. It will be a difficult match as they all are at this level, and whilst I think their attack can give us problems, I feel our firepower going forward coupled with the home support will see us gain our second win of the season.

Overall, Pellegrini still has things to consider and work out about this team and the balance but a clinical striker in Haller helps tenfold. An injury to Rice however would derail the season and we’d be a significantly worse team. In January you have to feel there will be investment in a holding midfielder who improves the squad and can confidently back up Rice, as well as potentially a defender or two. I still feel reasonably optimistic about this season, the players need to work hard to improve on areas of weakness in training, but on our day we have a really exciting attack which will cause most teams issues. In Haller I hope!

Hope everyone is well, and has a good week.


Match Thread

Match Thread: Newport County v West Ham

Newport County v West Ham
Carabao Cup
Rodney Parade
KO 7.45pm
TV: Sky Sports
Radio: WHUFC.com

Please use this thread to comment on the match as it progresses.


Dan Coker's Match Preview

Match Preview: Newport v West Ham

Blast from the past

West Ham United have never met Newport County in the League Cup before, so today’s focus falls on the only previous cup encounter between the two clubs. West Ham have previously met Newport twice in league action, the Hammers recording a 3-0 win at Upton Park in February 1947 and sharing the spoils in a 1-1 draw two months later in south east Wales.

Currently the only cup encounter featuring the two sides, however, came in front of 14,124 on 9th January 1979 in the FA Cup third round – The Village People were number one with ‘YMCA’, Jaws 2 topped the UK box office and Michael Aspel had just presented the first episode of ITV’s Give Us A Clue. Fourth Division Newport were welcoming Second Division West Ham on this Tuesday night due to the previously-scheduled Saturday game being postponed because of snow – indeed, the Hammers were to only play two matches in January 1979 as a result of the inclement weather.

This ‘welcome’ at Somerton Park included Newport removing all lightbulbs and toilet rolls from the West Ham dressing-room and giving the visitors deflated footballs to warm up with. The hosts took an early lead when former Bournemouth and Swindon forward Howard Goddard headed them in front after 14 minutes but the Hammers were level just seven minutes later when ‘Pop’ Robson struck a beauty from distance – if you skip to 14:54, you can see this goal by clicking here. Robson would be West Ham’s top scorer in 1978/79 with 26 goals from 42 appearances – it would be his final campaign with the Hammers before returning to Sunderland. He would also be voted runner-up to Alan Devonshire in the Hammer of the Year voting at the end of the season.

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The winning goal came in the 81st minute, and went to the Fourth Division hosts – Mervyn Day, who would make only two more appearances for West Ham before leaving for Leyton Orient, failed to deal with a cross and striker Eddie Woods converted scrappily at the far post to secure a home fourth round tie against Third Division Colchester.

Len Ashurst’s side secured a 0-0 draw against their Essex-based visitors but lost 1-0 in the replay. Arsenal would win the 1979 FA Cup Final, beating Manchester United 3-2 at Wembley. Newport, meanwhile, would go on to finish eighth in the Fourth Division while the Hammers would end the 1978/79 season in fifth place in the second tier. The following season would bring greater joy for both clubs, with Newport winning promotion to the Third Division and the Hammers winning the FA Cup.

Sadly, the Newport full-backs who played that night are no longer with us – former Aldershot and Sheffield Wednesday right-back Richard Walden died in November 2009 at the age of 61, while Irish international and ex-Southampton and Hereford left-back Tony Byrne passed away aged 70 in June 2016.

Newport County: Gary Plumley, Richard Walden, Trevor Thompson, Grant Davies, Tony Byrne, Dave Bruton, Keith Oakes, Nigel Vaughan, Steve Lowndes, Eddie Woods, Howard Goddard.

West Ham United: Mervyn Day, Frank Lampard, Alvin Martin, Billy Bonds, Paul Brush, John McDowell, Trevor Brooking, Alan Devonshire, ‘Pop’ Robson, Alan Taylor, David Cross.

Club Connections

Players who have represented Newport County and West Ham United include:

Defenders: Alf Lee, Phil Brignull.

Midfielders: Bobby Weale, Bill Edwards.

Strikers: Tudor Martin, Wilf James, Frank Nouble.

Today’s focus though is on a winger who spent half a season with West Ham United before moving to Newport County. Bill Charlton was born in Sunderland on the 10th October 1900 and began his career with South Shields (later Gateshead) shortly after the end of World War One. The brother of former Fulham and Carlisle full-back Edward Charlton, Bill signed for Syd King’s West Ham United on the strength of several impressive displays against the Hammers.

The 21-year-old outside-right made his Hammers debut in a 2-1 Second Division defeat to Bradford at Upton Park on 26th August 1922, the opening day of the 1922/23 season. Charlton (pictured) played the first eight matches of the campaign, helping the Irons to two wins and two draws from those eight fixtures. He was eventually replaced by Welsh international Dick Richards who went on to play 43 matches in what would prove to be a promotion-winning campaign for West Ham as they earnt the right to play top flight football for the first time in the club’s history and also reached the first Wembley FA Cup Final.

Charlton’s time at the Hammers, however, came to an end before that promotion was sealed. His final appearance in claret and blue came in a 2-1 defeat at Stockport on 30th September 1922 and by the end of that year, after failing to score in his eight West Ham appearances, he had moved to Newport in exchange for another outside-right, Bill Edwards. Charlton scored 19 goals for Newport in 89 league matches between 1922 and 1924. A brief spell at Cardiff followed before Charlton enjoyed the most successful spell of his career, scoring 72 goals in 130 matches for Tranmere from 1925 to 1930. He brought the curtain down on his career with a spell at Workington. Bill Charlton died at the age of 80 in his hometown of Sunderland on the 20th June 1981.

Referee

Tuesday’s referee will be Stephen Martin, who will be taking charge of his second match involving West Ham United. The Staffordshire-based official was the man in the middle for the Hammers’ 1-0 League Cup third round home win over Accrington in September 2016.

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Martin has refereed three Championship games this season, issuing nine yellow cards and no red cards, and awarding no penalties. His first refereeing appointment was in November 2010.

Possible line-ups

Newport came from behind twice in the last round before winning a penalty shoot-out against League One Gillingham. 24-year-old goalkeeper Nick Townsend has been second-choice behind Tom King this season but he was County’s hero in that shoot-out at Priestfield and is expected to retain his cup place. 38-year-old manager Michael Flynn, a former midfielder with Gillingham and Bradford, had three spells at hometown club Newport as a player and has managed County since 2017. The club missed out on promotion to League One last season, beaten in the last minute of extra-time in the Play-Off Final against Tranmere. Newport, who beat Crewe 1-0 on Saturday, are currently fifth in League Two and are unbeaten this season. 28-year-old Scot Bennett is back in contention and 26-year-old midfielder Matthew Dolan is available after coming off with fatigue during the weekend win over Crewe. 29-year-old striker Jamille Matt, who led the line and scored when Newport knocked Leicester out of the FA Cup last season, and 28-year-old midfielder Joss Labadie are both struggling to be fit in time to take on their Premier League visitors. The goalkeeper for last season’s cup heroics, Joe Day, was also named in the 2019 PFA League Two Team of the Year but has since signed for Cardiff.

West Ham United are likely to hand a debut to new striker Albian Ajeti. Winston Reid and Javier Hernandez are unavailable, while Manuel Pellegrini is expected to make some changes for the Hammers’ first ever trip to Rodney Parade. Spanish goalkeeper Roberto could make his debut in goal. West Ham’s Development Squad travel to Newport on 4th September for a group match in the Leasing.com Trophy.

Possible Newport County XI: Townsend; McNamara, O’Brien, Howkins, Haynes; Dolan, Sheehan; Willmott, Amond, Whitely; Abrahams.

Possible West Ham United XI: Roberto; Zabaleta, Balbuena, Diop, Cresswell; Sanchez, Noble; Antonio, Fornals, Anderson; Ajeti.

Enjoy the game – Up The Hammers!


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