After Saturday’s 3-2 loss to Everton, and the way in which it happened, any fan could be forgiven when thinking tonight’s cup clash with Cardiff City isn’t going to go swimmingly.

A lack of fire power up front and the prospect of several youngsters being given a chance to shine in the first-team means there’s a real chance of another early-round cup exit under Sam Allardyce.

That aside, a cup run may be high on the agenda for Allardyce this season. Survival was the aim last year and we achieved that with no problem, so now a cup run should be the next on the list of targets. After all, there’s no reason why we can’t make it to Wembley, particularly after Swansea and Bradford made it here last season. It’s also Allardyce’s 100th game in charge of the Hammers tonight – he won’t fancy marking the occasion with a loss.

Cardiff might be in the same boat as we were last season – one eye on Premier League survival – but they’ll still be prepared to get revenge after we beat them on the opening day of the season.

However, the Bluebird’s away form hasn’t been great in recent times. No wins from their last six games on the road in all competitions (D4, L2), Malky Mackay’s appear to be a bit jittery away from home.

Meanwhile, West Ham have lost just six of their last 20 home fixtures in all competitions, giving them a superior statistical edge over Cardiff, and we all know how much Sam Allardyce loves statistics.

Verdict: A tight game but West Ham to progress to the fourth round.

Team News:

West Ham United

The game comes too early for the Joe Cole and Stewart Downing, while Mladen Petric isn’t yet fit enough to start.

Mark Noble misses out through suspension after his red card at the weekend.

George Moncur, Dylan Tombides, Elliott Lee and Danny Potts are all expected to be in the squad.

Cardiff City

Peter Odemwingie could make his first start for Cardiff after making his debut from the bench against Tottenham on Sunday.

Andreas Cornelius may miss out, though, as he continues to struggle with an ankle injury.

Last five meetings:

Match in Numbers:

100 – Sam Allardyce manages his 100th game as West Ham manager tonight. Both his 1st and 50th games were also against Cardiff City at home.

8 – The Hammers have won eight of their last 10 League Cup matches at Upton Park (W8, L2).

4 – West Ham won their last four meetings with Cardiff without conceding a single goal.

1 – Cardiff have won just one of their last seven away games in all competitions (W1, D4, L2).

55 – West Ham have scored first in 55% of their last 20 home fixtures in all competitions.

70 – But Cardiff have scored first in 70% of their last 20 away matches in all competitions.

Head-to-Head (all competitions)

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