Collins in Hammers Cup promise

James Collins has vowed that West Ham will finish the job in their FA Cup fifth-round tie against Middlesbrough

By JONATHAN CLEGG

James Collins has vowed that West Ham will finish the job in their FA Cup fifth-round tie against Middlesbrough by winning next week's replay at the Riverside and advancing to the quarter-finals.

The Hammers wasted a golden opportunity to progress to a last-eight meeting with Everton last weekend after they were held to a draw by struggling Middlesbrough, who are without a Premier League win since November.

West Ham had been firm favourites to reach the quarter-finals after entering the match on the back of just one defeat in their previous nine matches, but produced a disjointed display that threatened to send them crashing out of the competition.


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Despite a sell-out crowd at Upton Park, Gianfranco Zola's side fell behind following a defensive error from Collins and West Ham were indebted to Herita Ilunga's late equaliser for rescuing a replay.

Now Wales international Collins has promised to redeem himself and help the Hammers to victory at the Riverside after warning Boro to expect a much-improved display on Tuesday night.

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He said: "We weren't too happy with the performance [on Saturday]. We were shocking in the first half, terrible - the worst we've been for a long time. Luckily we came up with a goal late on and we are still in the cup.

"For the way we have been playing we should have gone out there with a lot of confidence but for some reason we didn't look confident as a team.

"But we will go [to Middlesbrough] and put it right. We have got Bolton in between but we know that if we raise our game to anything higher than it was last time, we will go up there and get the right result."

West Ham have confirmed that all supporters who buy a ticket for the fifth-round replay at Middlesbrough are being offered free coach travel to the Riverside.

The Hammers have been given an allocation of 4,700 tickets, which go on general sale from tomorrow.

Chief executive Scott Duxbury said: "This will be the club's fifth trip to the North-East since the start of November and we recognise the burden that places on our supporters.

"The fans are central to what we are trying to achieve and we need them with us in everything we do - and that certainly includes backing the team at the Riverside.

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