Hart will be West Ham keeper at Shrewsbury
PUBLISHED: 22:58 05 January 2018
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Injuries set to rule out Arnautovic and Oxford for FA Cup showdown
West Ham’s international keeper Joe Hart will start as he returns to his first club on Sunday for an FA Cup third round tie that looks a potential banana skin.
The 30-year-old played 58 games for the Shrews between 2003 and 2006 before joining Manchester City and Hammers boss David Moyes confirmed that he will play at the New Meadow.
“Joe will play on Sunday, but he will play a lot of Premier League games this season as well,” insisted Moyes, who left out Hart to play Adrian in the last eight Premier League games.
“I thought Adrian made one brilliant save when he tipped it over the bar against Spurs and he has been playing well for us.”
Hart will be hoping to be England’s number one for this summer’s World Cup in Russia, so this game will give him the chance to prove his worth.
“I am sure Joe is not overly happy with the situation, but he is a professional,” said the manager.
“He had had understudies to him for 90 per cent of his career, so he knows how it works and he is acting very professionally.”
It will be an emotional return for Moyes himself who played for the League One high-flyers between 1987 and 1990.
“I have great memories of it,” recalled the manager. “There were quite a lot of Scottish boys there at the time.
“When I first joined they were in the Championship and were doing ok, but we just weren’t quite good enough.”
Good memories from those days, but Shrewsbury also provided one of his bleakest moments while managing Everton when they were beaten 2-1 back in 2003.
“I did play Shrewsbury in another cup competition last year and beat them,” the manager was quick to say. “But when I look back at some of my darkest moments in football, that is certainly up there, but it was a long time ago.”
Another giant killing is a possibility, especially as West Ham have already played two games this week, beating West Brom 2-1 on Tuesday night and then drawing 1-1 against Spurs at Wembley.
“I’d like to say there won’t be a lot of changes, but I will have to say,” said Moyes. “The biggest problem is the amount of fatigue from the games we have been playing and we have got injuries.”
One of those is that of in-form Marko Arnautovic, who missed the draw against Spurs and is set to miss the Cup game.
“Marko has got two tight hamstrings rather than a full pull. It was the second day that he felt it, only really on Thursday morning, so he is too important to us to risk him.”
Reece Oxford, who was called back early from his loan spell at Borussia Monchengladbach, is also doubtful after being injured kicking the ground in training.
“I think we will have injuries for Sunday, but if I get my way, I will try and have as strong a team as I possibly can.”
West Ham’s trip to the New Meadow on Sunday will be televised live on the BBC with a 2pm kick-off.
They might be hoping for a giant-killing, but Moyes will be determined that it doesn’t happen.