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Nolan out with fractured shoulder

West Ham UnitedWest Ham United
Sheffield UnitedSheffield United
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West Ham will be without captain Kevin Nolan for Tuesday's Capital One Cup second-round tie against Sheffield United.

The midfielder has been ruled out for six weeks with a fractured shoulder and manager Sam Allardyce must now decide if Mauro Zarate will keep his place in the side after replacing Nolan for Saturday's win at Crystal Palace. Matt Jarvis could return following a thigh problem but Carl Jenkinson (hamstring) is unlikely to be risked.

New strikers Enner Valencia and Diafra Sakho could make their full debuts while youngsters Dan Potts, Reece Burke, Diego Poyet and Danny Whitehead will all hope to be involved.

Stewart Downing believes the Hammers have a stronger squad this season as the challenge of juggling league and cup football beckons.

Allardyce's side reached the semi-finals of the competition last season and start their tilt at the trophy with a home game against the Blades.

The Hammers were in the midst of a mid-season injury crisis as they lost 9-0 on aggregate to the eventual winners Manchester City in January - with Barclays Premier League survival the main concern.

With a number of first-team players missing at the time, Allardyce was forced to field an inexperienced side in both legs - but Downing, who scored his first goal of the season in Saturday's 3-1 win at Crystal Palace, reckons the summer recruit drive at Upton Park will help significantly on that front.

"I think all the new signings have settled in well and those who have played have made good starts," said the England winger.

"We have a bit of a stronger squad this season which I think helps the manager. Last season the team had to literally pick itself at times because of injuries.

"We have a lot more options now and can change it around a bit if needed."

Downing will also want to be involved against the Sky Bet League One side as he looks to add to his goal on Saturday, which equalled the solitary strike he managed throughout the whole of last season.

"Obviously I am eager as is the manager for me to get more goals this season," he added.

"To get off the mark second game in, is nice. I want to shoot more, get in the positions I need to be in. With the goal, I had it in my head what I wanted to do and hit it where I wanted to and it worked."

It will be the first meeting of the two sides since West Ham agreed an out-of-court settlement for a fee reported to be in excess of B£20million to be paid as compensation to the Blades.

The argument stemmed following Sheffield United's relegation from the Barclays Premier League in 2007 - with West Ham surviving thanks largely to the goals of Carlos Tevez.

It was later discovered that Tevez, as well as fellow Argentina international Javier Mascherano, were partially owned by Media Sports Investment, a company run by Kia Joorabchian.

The Premier League fined West Ham B£5.5million and, after United unsuccessfully appealed to be reinstated to the league with West Ham relegated instead, a two-year legal wrangle ended with the settlement.

With plenty of ill-feeling between the two sets of fans, Allardyce insisted on Saturday he would do his utmost to appease West Ham's supporters by winning the fixture.

"I think the reaction is to get a team out there that wins," he said.

"I'm not so sure how guilty Sheffield United were on it but that's nothing do with me. It's about making sure the fans are happy when I go on Tuesday because they feel aggrieved at what Sheffield United did and if I can do that for them, then great."

Sheffield United manager Nigel Clough is expected to make one or two changes for his side's Capital One Cup clash at West Ham.

Clough, who has no new major injury or suspension worries, could be tempted to utilise his squad with the likes of winger Jamal Campbell-Ryce, striker Mark McNulty, defender Bob Harris and teenage midfielder Louis Reed pushing for recalls.

Striker Michael Higdon was rested for the recent win at Peterborough and could start on the bench again, while winger Ryan Flynn is another who could return to the starting line-up.

The Blades are chasing a third straight victory after successive league wins.

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