TWO Premier League teams do battle once more for the opportunity to face either Sheffield Wednesday or Milton Keynes Dons.
West Bromwich Albion and Queens Park Rangers laboured to a draw at Loftus Road last weekend with Kieron Dyer – released shortly afterwards by QPR – equalised a deflected Shane Long effort in a drab affair.
Rangers’ shortcomings in the tournament has been well documented, only last year breaking their ten year winless streak in a replay against the aforementioned Dons.
Hope springs eternal that Rangers can kick start some cup form to help spark their league revival, with some important fixtures to come both home and away.
Tottenham Hotspur 0
Team: Julio Cesar, Nedum Onuoha, Clint Hill, Ryan Nelsen, Fabio Da Silva, Stephane Mbia, Ji Sung Park, Shaun Derry, Shaun Wright-Phillips, Adel Taarabt, Jamie Mackie.
West Bromwich Albion 2
Team: Ben Foster, Billy Jones, Gareth McAuley, Jonas Olsson, Liam Ridgewell, George Thorne, Chris Brunt, James Morrison, Graham Dorrans (Markus Rosenberg 79), Jerome Thomas, Romelu Lukaku.
West Brom Team News:
Steven Reid and Peter Odemwingie are expected to be available for the Baggies despite the latter being linked with a move to Loftus Road.
Both return from injury, but unlikely to feature are Claudio Yacob (hamstring), Shane Long (dead leg) and Marc-Antoine Fortune (hamstring)
Player to watch: Romelu Lukaku
The Belgian forward on loan from Chelsea has proven himself a potent forward for the Baggies thus far this season – netting nine times already.
Sections of Chelsea support have been calling for his return given some of the positive displays this campaign, that see the Baggies loftily placed in the Premier League table.
QPR Team News:
Rangers will be without Junior Hoilett (hamstring) and Samba Diakite (African Cup of Nations) while Andrew Johnson (knee) and Bobby Zamora (hip) remain long-term absentees.
Fabio da Silva may or may not have a clause regarding his eligibility to feature given his omission in the reverse fixture in W12.
Player to watch: Adel Taarabt
Taarabt continues to play at the head of a false nine formation, which may or may not change in the coming weeks with the rumoured impending capture of Loic Remy.
The midfield marvel scored a stunner against the Baggies in the league fixture up at the Hawthornes earlier this season, and will be looking for another this evening to help QPR through.
Match Facts & Stats
LAST FIVE FIXTURES:
(L) 2-3 v Reading
(D) 1-1 v QPR
(L) 1-2 v Fulham
(L) 0-2 v Manchester United
(W) 2-1 v QPR
(D) 0-0 v Tottenham Hotspur
(D) 1-1 v West Brom
(W) 1-0 v Chelsea
(L) 0-3 v Liverpool
(L) 1-2 v West Brom
Referee: Martin Atkinson
Assistant: Darren Cann
Assistant: Dave Bryan
This will be Mr Atkinson’s third QPR fixture this term, having taken charge of the home victory over Fulham (2-1) and loss away at Stoke (0-1).
I don’t see this competition being a major source of motivation for Rangers, and when it comes to exerting that extra force to get over the line, it may be West Brom that has the final say.
WHO: West Ham United
WHEN:: 19/01/2013 – 15.00
WHERE: Upton Park