West Ham vs Birmingham preview: Samir Nasri set for debut in FA Cup
Last Updated: 05/01/19 9:05am
Samir Nasri is set to make his West Ham debut in their FA Cup third-round tie against Birmingham on Saturday.
The 31-year-old former Manchester City and Arsenal midfielder joined the Hammers as a free agent on New Year's Eve once his 18-month doping ban was complete.
Having played three games in seven days and with a lengthy injury list, West Ham manager Manuel Pellegrini will make further changes against Sky Bet Championship play-off hopefuls Birmingham.
He said: "It's important to rest players who have played so many games in December but also it is important to continue in the FA Cup. It is a way to get a spot in Europe, to win a championship, so we are going to play this game as seriously as we can.
"First of all to win a title with West Ham is a very important thing, it is one of my targets and the way I think and have my mentality, I always try to win.
"I think the FA Cup is a very important trophy, a good cup, the whole country plays it, so of course for any manager, it is always beautiful to win."
Birmingham boss Garry Monk says he wants his players to put on a good display for the travelling support heading to the London Stadium, where around 5,000 away fans are expected to be in attendance.
"We are definitely underdogs for this game but the mentality of this squad has been very, very strong in terms of competing," he said.
"We're playing away from home at West Ham who are doing very well this season in the Premier League and have got a massive, talented squad. Whoever we play against is going to be high quality and dangerous.
"It would be a huge shock if we won on Saturday, but those are the things you dream about. I just want the players to go out there and enjoy the experience, but compete."
West Ham striker Andy Carroll is expected to start again after making his first start of the season in the 2-2 draw with Brighton on Wednesday.
Grady Diangana and Xande Silva will be in contention but Javier Hernandez, Winston Reid, Jack Wilshere, Ryan Fredericks, Fabian Balbuena, Manuel Lanzini, Carlos Sanchez and Andriy Yarmolenko are all still missing.
Birmingham's Isaac Vassell has returned to training from a long-term injury but is unlikely to feature. Kristian Pedersen is doubtful with his ongoing ankle injury and Omar Bogle is likely to miss out with a calf problem.
West Ham have won two of their three FA Cup meetings with Birmingham, though they did lose the most recent match in February 1984 (0-3).
This will be Birmingham's first visit to the London Stadium - they're unbeaten in their last four meetings with West Ham in all competitions (W2 D2), last facing them in the 2011-12 Championship campaign.
West Ham have scored just one goal in their last four FA Cup matches.
Birmingham haven't beaten Premier League opposition in the FA Cup since January 2012 (1-0 vs Wolves), drawing two and losing five since then.