Gillingham Match Preview
By Tom Dowsett
Sunday 05 Jan 2020 12:27:00
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It was a busy December for West Ham United and January shows no sign of letting up either. The Hammers start their Emirates FA Cup run tonight with a trip to The Priestfield Stadium to face Sky Bet League One side Gillingham in a third-round tie.

West Ham have fallen victim to sides from this division before and they will be hoping that they don't come unstuck again here and exit the competition at this stage for the third season running. 

In fact, they have already been defeated by a side from Sky Bet League One already this season, as their Carabao Cup participation was ended by Oxford United.

The visitors go into this game with momentum behind them after a thumping 4-0 home win over AFC Bournemouth on New Year's Day.

Whilst an FA Cup run may now not be a top priority for the Irons, given their current Premier League predicament, they will still be looking to progress to the next stage.

Issa Diop and Arthur Masuaku were dropped to the bench for the midweek triumph against the Cherries but both will hope to be restored to the starting line-up here.

David Moyes stated in his pre-match news conference on Friday that if he was fit enough to do so, then Lukasz Fabianski will start in goal.

One player that may be in contention for this game is defender Winston Reid, despite being on the bench for last weekend's defeat to Leicester City, the New Zealander hasn't featured in a competitive game since March 2018.

Manuel Lanzini came off the bench four days ago as he continues his recovery from a broken collarbone and may start here, while Carlos Sánchez may make his second start inside eight days.

Albian Ajeti didn't get many opportunities under Manuel Pellegrini and despite the Chilean bringing him to the club, the striker never even got a first start while the 66-year-old was in the hotseat and Moyes may give the striker his first chance to impress from the start.

Due to the Heads Up mental health awareness campaign, the remaining third-round ties will start a minute later than originally scheduled with the match here commencing at 6:16pm and for the second successive game, Live coverage will be screened by BT Sport. Build-up will start at 6pm.

The referee is Andrew Madley.

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