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Saturday, 15 December, 2018

Hammers should swiftly make their class tell

Cheltenham have started the season slowly

West Ham's Javier Hernandez netted a brace against Southampton on the weekend
1 of 1

EFL Cup second round
Sky Sports Football & Main Event, 7.45pm Wednesday

Premier League basement boys West Ham need to get their season up and running and can do just that by beating Cheltenham at Whaddon Road.

West Ham were handed home advantage in the draw but had to switch the tie to Gloucestershire because the London Stadium is in the process of being converted back to a football venue after the World Athletics Championships.

The situation has worked against West Ham in the league with defeats at Manchester United (4-0) and Southampton (3-2).

However, they showed good character and ability in the match at Southampton, recovering from a two-goal deficit to 2-2 despite the disadvantage of playing with ten men.

Marko Arnautovic was the culprit at St Mary's Stadium, receiving a straight red card after putting his arm into Saints' defender Jack Stephens's neck, and will sit out the next three games.

But West Ham still have plenty of firepower with Javier Hernandez, Diafra Sakho, Andre Ayew and Michail Antonio jostling for attacking positions, and they should not take long to expose the weaknesses in Cheltenham's rearguard.

Cheltenham are off to a slow start in Sky Bet League Two, winning one and losing two of their three matches.

However, they sprang a surprise in their EFL first round tie at Oxford, deservedly winning 4-3 after extra-time. Robins manager Gary Johnson admits he is still on the lookout for fresh blood and could name only six players on the bench for Saturday's 3-0 defeat at Carlisle.

Johnson is set to pick his strongest side in the hope of causing an upset and will be hoping for a big performance from pacy striker Mohamed Eisa, who has been a big hit since his summer switch from Greenwich Borough.

Eisa has netted four goals in four appearances and could soon be attracting the attention of bigger clubs. His partnership with target-man Danny Wright caused Oxford all sorts of problems and may be effective in League Two.

However, West Ham have good enough defenders to cope and should swiftly make their class count at the other end, opening up the possibility of a profitable punt on the West Ham-West Ham double result.

West Ham-West Ham double result
1pt 23-20 Coral

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Team news
Jerell Sellars missed the weekend 3-0 loss at Carlisle through injury and is a doubt.

West Ham
Marko Arnautovic is suspended after his red card against Southampton. Winston Reid (calf) and Manuel Lanzini (leg) are out and Andy Carroll and Cheikhou Kouyate are doubts after missing the first two games of the season.

Key stat
Cheltenham have kept three clean sheets in their last 16 matches.

West Ham have plenty of firepower with Javier Hernandez, Diafra Sakho, Andre Ayew and Michail Antonio jostling for attacking positions
E.W. Terms
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