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Summerbee: Hammers won't fear City challenge

FORMER Manchester City forward Mike Summerbee is expecting West Ham to provide the Blues with a tough assignment in tomorrow's Capital One Cup semi-final first leg at the Etihad Stadium, despite the two clubs' contrasting fortunes of late.

City, currently second in the Premier League, head into the game unbeaten in their last 13 matches in all competitions and having won 11 of them.

The Hammers, meanwhile, are second-bottom of the table, have secured only one victory in their past nine fixtures, and on Sunday suffered a humiliating 5-0 defeat to Sky Bet Championship outfit Nottingham Forest in the third round of the FA Cup.

The odds look stacked against West Ham, who have a host of players unavailable due to injury and suspension, getting a positive result on Wednesday.

But Summerbee has pointed to City's recent hard-fought 1-0 home win over another side in the Premier League relegation zone at present, Crystal Palace, as evidence that things do not always go as expected.

And he has also spoken up for West Ham boss Sam Allardyce, someone he has high regard for as a manager and has no doubt will make life difficult for City. "Crystal Palace came here and we had a job to break them down," ex-England international Summerbee, part of the City team that won the League Cup in 1970, told Press Association Sport.

"And Sam Allardyce is a very shrewd cookie - he knows the game.

"He gave young kids an opportunity the other day (against Forest). It wasn't easy for him and he had to do it because of the injuries he has got.

"He will come here with the right mind, the right attitude and the right players. He won't have anything on his mind about whether or not he is going to be in the job (for much longer).

"He is as good as you can get in a situation like this. He will get through it - he is a good manager.

"His team will come here, will be focused on getting something from the game to take back to Upton Park, and will make it difficult for us."

Summerbee also praised Pellegrini for the job he has done since taking over from Roberto Mancini.

"I think he (Pellegrini) has done a fantastic job. I think his man-management has been brilliant," he said.