West Ham United entertain Championship play-off hopefuls Birmingham City in the FA Cup on Saturday.
The Hammers have been in fine form over the last month.
Five wins and a draw from their last eight games has seen West Ham rise to 10th in the Premier League table.
Manuel Pellegrini’s side are just a couple of points off the European places.
But now the focus switches to the world’s oldest cup competition with Birmingham visiting the London Stadium for the third round tie.
On paper three-time FA Cup winners West Ham are big favourites.
Six changes but Hammers still strong
A very different looking side will take to the field on Saturday, though, with Pellegrini making wholesale changes.
That’s not to say the Chilean won’t send out a strong side, though,
The Hammers boss knows this is the club’s only chance of silverware and will be all too aware West Ham have not won a major trophy in nearly 40 years.
Pellegrini looks set to make six changes to the side which started against Brighton.
Adrian in for Fabianski
Adrian is West Ham’s number two and as is the case with most Premier League sides nowadays that means he plays in the cup matches. The Spaniard sealed his cult hero status in this competition with his penalty scoring heroics against Everton at Upton Park. He will be eager to show his quality as he replaces Lukasz Fabianski who looks a strong contender for the club’s prestigious Hammer of the Year award.
Masuaku in for Cresswell
Aaron Cresswell has finally started to get back to something like his best in the last few games and kept his place in the team as a result. But after a busy period he will be rested and Arthur Masuaku will come back in. While Adrian has good memories of the FA Cup, Masuaku does not. He was banned for six games after spitting at an opponent as West Ham were dumped out by Wigan last season.
Diangana in for Snodgrass
Grady Diangana has struggled since his meteoric rise into the Hammers first team. The youngster will be given another chance in the cup, though, as Robert Snodgrass is given a well-earned rest.
Noble in for Obiang
As good as Pedro Obiang was in the win over Southampton he was poor against Brighton. Mark Noble changed the game when he came on to help salvage a draw. And he will come back into the starting line-up as Pellegrini leans on his and Pablo Zabaleta’s experience to guide them through a potential banana skin.
Antonio in for Anderson
Another who will be rested is Felipe Anderson. The Brazilian is crucial to West Ham’s hopes this season and he will be waiting on the bench should he be needed. Antonio helped change the game against Brighton and has slowly been improving. He will get his chance in an attacking role after a spell at right back and will be eager to take it.
Perez in for Arnautovic
Perez has failed to impress so far at West Ham. But he will get another chance as West Ham take care with Marko Arnautovic after he played two games in three days following a month out through injury.
Predicted West Ham XI to face Birmingham:
Adrian, Zabaleta, Diop, Ogbonna, Masuaku, Diangana, Noble, Rice, Antonio, Perez, Carroll.