Sam Allardyce is expecting a tougher game against Cardiff City than the one they provided the Hammers on the opening day of the Premier League season.
Malky Mackay’s Bluebirds visit the Boleyn Ground on Tuesday night for the Capital One Cup third round, just over a month after losing 2-0 in the league.
And Allardyce believes Cardiff are a lot more organised now they’ve had time to settle in the top-flight and does not expect a repeat result this time around.
He told whufc.com: “I think that Malky and his staff do a really good job in terms of playing to their strengths and organising the team.
“When we played them at our place, him, his team and his players have adjusted very quickly to life in the Premier League. We won that game comfortably on the day but since then they’ve reorganised themselves and has some fantastic results.
“We had a tough match against Cheltenham in the last round and I’m expecting another tough game against Cardiff.”
And Allardyce also admitted that he will be ringing the changes ahead of the Cardiff game, with a number of youth prospects expected to feature, but revealed the game has come a little too early for crocked pair Joe Cole and Stewart Downing.
“We will make some changes,” Allardyce admitted.
“They [Cole and Downing] won’t feature in this game. I would have loved the match to be next week rather than this week as they both would have played.
“They won’t be involved on Tuesday because both of them are only due back in training with the other players on Monday and putting them into what will be a hugely competitive game has come to early for them.”
Mladen Petric will be in the match day squad on Tuesday night, though, but Allardyce admits a start is unlikely for the Croatian.
“I don’t think he’ll start because we’re talking about a player who’s only had half-an-hour in a highly competitive game in the Barclays Premier League,” Allardyce explained.
“The physicality is greater than anywhere else in the world and he’s only in week two of his pre-season. We have to be careful because we don’t want him to get injured, but he will be in the squad.”
Meanwhile, the club hinted that both George Moncur and Dylan Tombides may feature against Cardiff on Tuesday night by announcing their squad numbers for this season:
— West Ham United FC (@whufc_official) September 23, 2013