West Ham skipper returns as Bilic looks to make changes for Bolton clash
PUBLISHED: 08:00 19 September 2017
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Sakho and Ayew set to start as Hammers look to make progress in Carabao Cup
West Ham skipper Mark Noble returns to the starting line-up for the Carabao Cup clash with Bolton Wanderers at the London Stadium.
The 30-year-old has missed the last two games with an ankle injury, but manager Slaven Bilic declared him ready to return.
“Mark is fit,” insisted Bilic. “He is ready and he will play.
“His scan is clear, he has trained a couple of days and he is a good professional.”
Noble is likely to partner youngster Declan Rice in defensive midfield, but star man Manuel Lanzini is still not ready to return.
“He is still a little bit away from starting to train with us,” admitted the boss. “He is doing everything, but not with the rest of us. One movement causes him to feel the injury and we don’t want to risk it.”
Bilic insisted that the Argentinian will ‘definitely’ be back after the international break, or even for the Swansea City game, but the Bolton clash and the showdown with Spurs will come too soon.
The West Ham boss will make changes for the home match with the Championship bottom side, but he says it will still be a capable side.
“It will be a strong team, but there are going to be some changes, not because we lack ambitions as we want to do well in this cup,” he said.
“You need three good performances and three good draws and you are there, you don’t need 35 of them.”
Phil Parkinson’s side are currently rock bottom of the Championship, having managed just two draws from their opening eight games.
It should be plain sailing for the Hammers, but cup games can be notorious banana skins for the Premier League teams.
“This was a good draw,” said the manager. “When you consider last year we had Chelsea and Manchester United and also Manchester City in the FA Cup, so this is better, no disrespect to Bolton.”
Adrian is likely to play in goal, with the side reverting to a back four as Sam Byram and Arthur Masuaku come in as the full backs.
Andre Ayew will also start, as will Marko Arnautovic, while Pedro Obiang, Pablo Zabeleta and Aaron Cresswell are all set to be rested.
Javier Hernandez is in the squad, but is likely to be a sub, while Andy Carroll will not play a part.
One man who will start though is striker Diafra Sakho.
“he is back, he is fit and he is with us,” said Bilic. “He is very motivated and looked really hungry and good in training, not only physically, but also mentally.
“He is focused and I am very happy with him.”
Bilic may well give a chance to some of his younger players as well.
Rice should start, while also in the squad will Domingos Quina, who could start on the right win, Sead Haksabanovic and Nathan Holland.
“We are not thinking about Tottenham on Saturday at the moment, we are thinking about beating Bolton because if you win, you are not far away from making this competition a great success.