United are hoping to reach the Carling Cup semi-finals for a third successive season...
West Ham enjoyed their first win in six matches by beating Wigan Athletic 3-1 in the league at the weekend. The Hammers have struggled to find form this season - their last victory prior to Saturday was in the previous round of the Carling Cup, also 3-1, at home to Stoke. Head to head, the Londoners have lost their last five encounters with the Reds without scoring a goal but they did record back-to-back home wins in 2006/07 and 2007/08. Sir Alex Ferguson's men are now two points clear at the top of the league, having extended the club's unbeaten run in all competitions to 29 games with that sensational 7-1 thrashing of Blackburn Rovers. The Reds' last defeat in the Carling Cup was over three years ago, in September 2007, when Coventry caused a shock at Old Trafford - United have since won the trophy twice, in 2009 and 2010.
Ins and outs
Victor Obinna should retain his place after scoring his first Barclays Premier League goal in the Hammers’ 3-1 win over Wigan. The Nigerian striker could partner Carlton Cole up front, who looks set to replace Frederic Piquionne. Sir Alex Ferguson often utilises the full strength of his squad in the Carling Cup, so widespread changes are expected. Ben Amos or Tomasz Kuszczak will no doubt deputise for Edwin van der Sar, while Chris Smalling and Jonny Evans are expected to start at centre-half following their successful outing against Rangers last midweek. Gabriel Obertan, Kiko Macheda and Bebe are also likely to play having featured in the previous rounds.
Scott Parker is undoubtedly the heart and soul of West Ham United. Since his arrival from Newcastle in the summer of 2007, the former Chelsea midfielder has been a revelation in claret and blue. His never-say-die attitude and driving midfield play saw him voted 'Hammer of the Year' for both the 2008/09 and 2009/10 seasons.
Avram Grant led Chelsea to the Champions League final and to within two points of the league title, both of which were won by United in 2008. After his contract was harshly terminated, just eight months into his tenure at Stamford Bridge, Grant moved on to manage Portsmouth. Despite financial meltdown and a 10-point penalty pushing Pompey into the Championship, the Israeli still guided his team to the 2010 FA Cup final which they narrowly lost 1-0 to former club Chelsea. Grant