FOOTBALL NEWS

16/04/2013 08:00, Report by A Bostock, M Singh
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Preview: West Ham v Utd

Date, time and coverage: Wednesday 17 April (kick-off 19:45 BST). The match will be shown live in the UK on Sky Sports and you can follow it via ManUtd.com's exclusive text and radio commentaries at tracker.manutd.com.

Form guide: After the derby disappointment, Manchester United returned to winning ways in what might be considered a similar fixture to Wednesday’s, away to Stoke City. The 2-0 victory over the Potters will hopefully tee the Reds up for another silky yet steely display against Sam Allardyce’s West Ham United, a side who’ve made good use of Andy Carroll’s aerial prowess during his season-long loan from Liverpool. The powerful striker scored his sixth goal in seven games on Saturday, albeit with a blast from a free-kick rather than a trademark header, as the Hammers held Southampton 1-1 at St Mary’s. Prior to that, Allardyce’s men beat West Brom 3-1 at Upton Park to propel their push towards guaranteed safety and potentially a top-half finish.

Ins and outs: Sir Alex Ferguson could freshen up at the back, especially if he feels Nemanja Vidic – described as a “bit short” of fitness by the boss on Friday – and Rio Ferdinand need a rest after the rigours of Stoke. Jonny Evans and Chris Smalling were both fit enough to be on the bench at the Britannia Stadium. As for West Ham, defenders Winston Reid and George McCartney and midfielders Mark Noble and Joe Cole were all unavailable for selection by Allardyce on Saturday.

Betting: The Reds are bwin’s 13/20 favourites to pick up all three points. West Ham can be backed at 4/1 while the

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