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West Ham United v Shrewsbury Town

Filed: Monday, 15th January 2018
By: Preview Percy

Preview Percy takes a look at this week's visit of Shrewsbury Town to the London Stadium. Sun hats unlikely to be required this time around.....

Shrewsbury in the cup replay next. 7:45 on Tuesday evening is kick-off time with, as is the modern way for FA Cup replays, extra-time and penalties available should the sides be inseparable after 90 and 120 minutes respectively. Bring a thermos flask and a sleeping bag then, just in case.

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Well this will be short and sweet really. It’s only the other day that the work experience kid of as yet to be determined gender wearing a hoodie who seems only able to communicate with some strange grunting noises has already taken a gander at their squad in the last preview.

They have added one more to the squad since we last met. Luke Hendrie arrived for a small fee plus a sell-on clause from Burnley, though he spent most of this season on loan at Bradford. Part of a football family – Dad John. Cousins Lee and Stuart and Great-Uncle Paul have all played professionally, he appeared twice in the earlier rounds of the cup during his loan spell at Valley Parade so unless we are about to encounter another version of Mannygate we won’t be seeing anything of him on Tuesday.

Since we last met we have both returned to League action. More on our visit to Huddersfield later but they went to Blackburn at the weekend where they were on the wrong end of a 3-1 defeat. They still remain in second place but Blackburn’s win left them in third place with only a two point gap between the two clubs. So not a great weekend them. Manager Paul Hurst went through what you might call linguistic gymnastics in managing to moan about the refereeing decisions in the game without actually moaning about the refereeing decisions in the game. Suffice to say that he wasn’t over impressed with Mr Brooks.

Local newspaper reports suggest that, ref woes notwithstanding, the Shrews weren’t at their best at the weekend and ‘keeper Dean Henderson (who we were erroneously informed would not be allowed to play in the first match by parent club Moan Utd) spent some time reacting to grief given to him by the Ewood faithful. It’s not the first time this season he has had run-ins with opposition supporters, with the work experience kid of as yet to be determined gender wearing a hoodie who seems only able to communicate with some strange grunting noises citing a home game against Bradford as another example of unpleasant custodian-supporter interaction.

They have no fresh injury worries – Mat Sadler who was one of lord knows how many players from the first match who ended up covered in claret played at the weekend with one of those big white bandages on his noggin so he should be available for this one. Expect a similar side to the one that took to the field in the first match.

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So what’s been happening in the wide and wacky word of association football. Well the tv companies, fresh from inventing “the calendar year” as a way of being able to lavish praise on Spurs managed to invent another category or two. Song picked up a gong for equalling the record for scoring in consecutive games at home. For Spurs. Whilst Kane is now their leading scorer of all time. In the Premier League. Or, to put it another way, a mere 120 or so goals behind the great Jimmy Greaves if you include all top flight games not merely the ones that cover the last 25 years or so. Which you should. At this rate look forward to such records as “most goals scored in a game by a club called Tottenham. This week.” Or Most number of assists by a player whose first name is Harry and plays for Tottenham whose surname isn’t Winks.” Incidentally the total of 98 by Kane would be a lot less if you discounted goals from dodgy free-kicks, penalties or (as with Saturday) offside positions.

Elsewhere as VAR was used in a couple of cup ties all the fun came in the league as Watford equalised against Southampton in the same manner as Bournemouth did against us the other week. Sod’s law really – there’s never an idiot sat in a tv studio around when you want one.

Us? Well “pleasantly surprised” just about covers it. The opening goal was the sort we have been known to concede. The equaliser probably had you thinking – as I did – that the second half was going to be quite tight. Catching them cold after the interval, like the first goal, was the sort of thing that usually happens to us. The other two did the trick nicely and Arnautovic (most goals by a player whose surname ends in C for a London-based Premier League club with the word “United” in its name. In 2018. Probably.) has a nice swagger about him at the moment.

On the injury front I notice that Sam Byram seems to have disappeared from the usual listings. He has had a runout for the U23 team recently and, assuming that he is fit enough, this would be an ideal match to start him in though I suspect that the medical staff would have preferred another U23 game or two first.

Of the others on the list Reid is definitely out, as are Fonte (possibly back by the end of the month), Antonio (wait and see) and Fernandes (ditto). Carroll has moved from “slight doubt” to “definitely not” with a dodgy ankle. Chicarito turned up “ill” with something that may or may not be flu, which may or may not require a emergency medical treatment in Los Angeles.

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Then there is Sakho. His “knee cyst” will continue to keep him away from the squad, especially now that there are severe doubts over the Palace move. A fee of between £10-12m had apparently been agreed between the clubs when someone at Selhurst said “hang on a minute…..” That one is up in the air and, as I have said before, few would be surprised if that “knee cyst” were to miraculously disappear the second that the transfer window closes.

Talking of which does anyone else get annoyed with that bloody clock on Sky telling us how long there is left of the transfer window. I mean I know they hype their coverage of these things to ludicrous degrees but that clock is just stupid. I think we can forgive them a little thing in the top corner of your screen saying “15 days to go” during transfer reports. However who, outside FIFA and possibly Leicester, really needs a countdown that tells you right down to how many hundredths of a second you have to play with?

Prediction? Well as with last time much will depend on the team we field. I’d expect a slightly stronger side than last time if only because we have more first XI players available. Some of those may start on the bench of course, sitting behind a glass case to be used in case of emergency, though knowing our luck if they smash the glass one of our players will get cut and be unable to play.

I actually think we will give a better account of ourselves this time round. I think therefore I will place the traditional £2.50 that was going to go on a thousand shares in Carillion on a wager that we will prevail 2-0 – one early goal and one late one will do the trick. See to it for me Mr Winstone.

Enjoy the game!

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When last we met at the Boleyn: Won 3-0 (Football League Division 2 September 1980)

Cross, Goddard and an og gave us all the points in a season in which we won 19, drew 1 and lost 1 at home. Good side that.

Referee: Jeremy Simpson

Football League ref who, if we’ve had him before I can’t find the details. Lancashire-based and did Millwall v Preston at the weekend so probably given the game as he was in the area. That’s how they seem to allocate referees these days.

Danger Man: Stefan Payne

Still top scorer so still danger man.

Percy’s Poser

For last week’s poser we went back to the 1970’s and mentioned the time when Huddersfield’s Frank Worthington (who was at Saturday’s match by the way) had a medical for a transfer to Liverpool which he failed with high blood pressure (officially – though some sources suggest an STD was the culprit). Our question was that old favourite “what happened next?”

The first correct answer out of the digital hat came from Mrs Phyllis Flux-Capacitor of West Mersea tells us: “As was, and is, Liverpool’s habit Bill Shankly made a totally illegal payment to Worthington with the instruction to get himself over to Majorca for a relaxing break (presumably to lower the blood pressure figures). Off to Majorca he went where his relaxation was assisted by the then current Miss Great Britain, A Swedish mother, her daughter and a random Belgian woman. Predictably Worthington’s blood pressure on his return had a comma in it and the player ended up at Leicester instead having had a good holiday at Liverpool’s expense,”

Well done Phyllis who wins a pint of Worthington E (a bitter popular in the 1970’s due to the fact that it was marginally less unpleasant than Watney’s Red Barrel. (Subject to availability, obviously).

For this week’s poser we ask: Whose catchphrase was: “There’s not much wrong with that Arthur”? First correct answer out of the digital hat wins a bag of compost.

Good luck everyone!

Please note that the opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, nor should be attributed to, KUMB.com.

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