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West Ham will enter the fiery cup clash with Millwall with just one recognised striker ready to play.

Carlton Cole is the sole frontman available for selection, as Millwall plot a high-profile upset of Gianfranco Zola's injury-hit squad.

The stabbing of defender Calum Davenport over the weekend has left the player in intensive care. And the Hammers must also contend with injuries to Kieron Dyer, Herita Ilunga, Dean Ashton, Luis Boa Morte and Valon Behrami.

Millwall have not beaten a Premier League side in the League Cup since their victory over Everton in 1995/6, and their only win at Upton Park came in the Simod Cup back in 1987. They remain hopeful that Chris Hackett will recover from a groin strain and take his place in the side, but will be without Nadjim Abdou (hip) and summer signing Steve Morison (hamstring).

Here's The Wharf's quick guide to the players who could be key in tonight's clash at Upton Park.

Matthew Upson v Gary Alexander

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England centre-half Upson has overcome his injury-jinxed history to become one of the most important players in Gianfranco Zola's team. Cool and elegant on the ball he also has the physical presence to mix it with more direct players than he usually encounters in the Premier League.

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Alexander has become a firm favourite with Lions fans for his wholehearted approach and ability to score crucial goals. He hit one of the best goals seen at the new Wembley Stadium in the play-off final defeat to Scunthorpe in May. Alexander will have an extra incentive to do well against the Hammers, having been on the club's books as a youngster.

David Martin v Julien Faubert

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Left winger Martin is one of the best crossers of the ball outside the Premier League and will be an important part of Millwall's push for promotion this season. With genuine pace he is a real handful for any full back, and he weighs in with his share of goals as well.


Faubert has turned himself into a right back this season, having originally joined as a winger. The pacy Frenchman is still settling into the role and might find his work cut out against Martin.

Mark Noble v Ali Fuseini

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West Ham youth product Noble has developed into one of the best young midfielders in the Premier League. The 22-year-old has had a good start to the season, scoring in the opening day win at Wolverhampton, and is a consistent goal threat when he gets close to the penalty area.

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Fuseini, still only 20, is an effective holding midfield player, strong in the tackle and with good distribution. He will be important in breaking up West Ham's attacks. The Ghanaian's favourite player is Chelsea's Michael Essien, whom he one day hopes to partner in his country's midfield.

Tony Craig v Carlton Cole

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Craig, usually a left-back, has been filling in for injured skipper Paul Robinson in central defence for the last two games, having recovered from injury himself. He also took over the captain's armband in Robinson's absence.

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Cole - who has turned himself into a proven Premier League goalscorer and an England international - will have a three inch height advantage over Craig and will be a constant threat to the Lions.

Venue: Boleyn Ground
Kick-off: 7.45pm