In the Third Round Replay stage of the 2017/2018 Emirates Football Association Challenge Cup, David Moyes’ West Ham United meet with Paul Hurst’s Shrewsbury Town for the second time in the space of nine days and a place in the Fourth Round up for grabs.
The Hammers will go into the clash brimming with confidence having thrashed Huddersfield Town away from home in the Premier League on Saturday afternoon, while the Shrews were also in action at that time, losing out to Blackburn Rovers at Ewood Park in League One, the hosts are the overwhelming favourites for this one.
The tie is scheduled to take place tonight (Tuesday 16 January 2018), with a kick-off time of 7:45 PM GMT and unfortunately, no live Television coverage available for viewing in the United Kingdom.
However, you can catch live Radio commentary from East London on BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra, and BBC Radio Shropshire and London, as well as on TalkSport 2, or alternatively, you can stay right where you are for a Live Blog, including live and exclusive build-up, text commentary and reaction, live from the Press Box of the former Olympic Stadium and starting at 5:30 PM.
The visit of Hurst’s Salop will take place at the club’s London Stadium, with a capacity of 57,000 and the option to go high into the 70,000s it is one of the most spectacular arenas in English Football.
Originally opening in 2012 for the London Olympics, the Ground’s footballing existence has been somewhat marred by violence and crowd unrest, not to mention supporter’s attitudes towards it.
This was catalysed early in this season when the first-team stars, then under Slaven Bilic, were forced to play the first four games of the season away from home due to Stratford hosting the World Athletics Championships.
But, the Stadium is slowly starting to feel more like home for the Claret & Blue Army, and tonight will be the first time that Shrewsbury have visited the Stadium and the first time since September 1980 that they have faced the Irons away from home, that day they were defeated emphatically thanks to strikes from David Cross, Paul Goddard and an own-goal.
Hammers Assistant Boss Alan Irvine confirmed in his Pre-Match Presser at Rush Green Training Ground, which MooreThanJustAClub were fortunate enough to be invited to, that striker Andy Carroll will be missing through injury for the affair yet again.
Fellow forward Javier Hernandez could also be side-lined having been taken Ill yesterday morning, while England goalkeeper and former Town player Joe Hart is set to start in goal against his former team once more, Moyes is likely to rest some of his first-team stars.
Meanwhile, Salop Manager Hurst has no such injury concerns to worry about, no fresh ones at least, as Junior Brown is expected to be the only player not to make the journey.
New signing, on loan from Derby County, Max Lowe may feature from the start, he has already visited the London Stadium this season as part of the Rams U23s side that thrashed the East Londoners back in November, danger man Stefan Payne is one to look out for.
The teams of Shrewsbury Town and West Ham United have met only five times previously in Competition, facing off with each other tomorrow for the first time in 36 years.
The overall record makes for even viewing for any supporter of either club as both the Irons and Town have recorded two victories, the hosts doing the double over the visitors in the 1979/1980 Division Two campaign and the away side achieving the feat a season after, there has only ever been one draw.
You will only have to go back to Sunday 7 January 2018 for the last encounter between the pair, who have only ever faced off outside of the Championship once, a 0-0 stalemate at the New Meadow which led to this Replay needing to be played out.
Before that, the two had only ever met in consecutive campaigns between 1979 and 1981, In the first of those two seasons, West Ham won the FA Cup and the second they triumphed with the Second Tier Title, the man in charge in East London, Moyes, made almost 100 appearances in Shropshire between 1987 and 1990.
Shrewsbury Town Football Club was formed in 1886 and has kept its original name from the beginning of its existence, enduring an up and down, rocky ride in the world of Football.
The Blues, also nicknamed Salop, the Shrews and the Town, have never lifted an FA Cup, English League Cup or FA Trophy, despite reaching the Quarter-Finals of the first twice and the Semis of the second once.
Ever since the year of 1950, Shrewsbury have remained in the Football League, baaing one season in the Conference, National League, four years after the turn of the century, and were most recently in the Championship in the 1980s.
Nowadays, under bright young Manager Hurst, Town have enjoyed an excellent start to the 2017/2018 season, remaining unbeaten till the end of October, they sit second in the Third Tier Standings, three points behind Wigan Athletic, though they did have a ten-game unbeaten run ended in Lancashire at the weekend.
Who Is Officiating?
Experienced EFL Referee Jeremy Simpson will be the man in the middle this evening, Ian Hussin and Akil Howson are set to act as his Assistants, while fellow Referee James Linington will take up the role of Fourth Official.
So, now that the London Stadium scene has been well and truly set for an exciting night of Cup spills and thrills under the lights, will Moyes’ boys claim a routine victory and a clash with AFC Bournemouth or Wigan in the next Round?
Or, can Hurst’s Blues pull off one of the great Cup upsets in the history of Football’s oldest Competition with a bit of help from the magic of the FA Cup? Think you know? Be sure to head over to @MooreThanAClub on Twitter to cast your late score predictions and join the pre-match discussion.