West Ham injuries mount but good news on attacking duo
PUBLISHED: 17:00 11 February 2016
Hammers boss Slaven Bilic has revealed that it will not be long before we see Manuel Lanzini and Diafra Sakho
West Ham will be without Winston Reid, Joey O’Brien and Cheikhou Kouyate at Norwich City tomorrow (Saturday), but there is better news about two long-term absentees.
The Hammers trio were forced off during Tuesday’s dramatic FA Cup win over Liverpool and, alongside James Tomkins, are expected to be out for a while.
But according to manager Slaven Bilic, there is good news about attackers Manuel Lanzini and Diafra Sakho.
“Winston and Joey have done their hamstrings and they are going for scans,” said Bilic at his pre-match press conference.
“James Tomkins will be out for about five weeks and though Kouyate is okay, he has been well, but because of the rules he can’t play on Saturday because he was unconscious on Tuesday.
“I still think we are in a position to put a strong team out for the game – we have enough players available.
“On Sunday, Lanzini is going to start training with the rest of the team. He has already been training on his own for a week or two and if everything goes to plan he should be available for the cup game at Blackburn.
“Sakho is going to be back training with the team maybe five days after Lanzini, so probably by the end of the week. He is already doing a lot of training and not only in the gym, but on the pitch as well, but individually.”
That will certainly give West Ham a boost, but Bilic knows that a trip to struggling Norwich will not be easy.
“We lost our last league game against Southampton and it is a good game to bounce back, but we really need to win if we want to stay up there,” he said.
“It is going to be extremely hard. They may have lost five league games in a row, but they did well in the transfer window and they are really fighting and need a result like crazy.
“But we are confident and if we play like we have for the majority of this season, then we will have a good chance.”
After Tuesday’s win, some may say that the FA Cup should now be the priority, but the manager doesn’t see it that way.
He added: “The league is always the priority, but we want both. It would be easier for the Norwich game if we hadn’t played Liverpool, that is obvious, but on the other hand, the FA Cup is very interesting for us, not only this season, but every season and we are going to see how we progress.”
Sam Byram is set to make his first start at right back, while Adrian, James Collins and Alex Song could also start and Emmanuel Emenike is available.
Hopes are still high for the Hammers, but Bilic is not thinking about anything as lofty as the Champions League spots.
“We are far away from the top four and we never thought about that,” said Bilic about his sixth-placed side.
“Of course if the possibility comes it is going to be great, but at the moment we are thinking about Norwich and then Blackburn.
“We don’t have a sign in the dressing room with our goal as top four. Our aim is as high as possible.”