West Ham striker misses Manchester United clash as Carroll waits for chance
07:00 30 November 2016
The Hammers will give their squad a chance when they face United at Old Trafford tonight
West Ham’s Diafra Sakho became the first striker to score a goal this season for the Hammers on Sunday, but he could now be out for as long as a month after injuring his hamstring.
The Hammers go into their EFL Cup quarter-final at Manchester United tonight (Wednesday) looking to cause an upset, but they must do it without Sakho and probably without Andy Carroll too.
“He is having a scan and that will show how big the injury is,” confirmed manager Slaven Bilic yesterday (Tuesday).
“It is a hamstring so we don’t know how long it is going to be, but he is definitely not available for Manchester United.”
Sakho scored inside two minutes at Old Trafford on Sunday and also played a vital part in the 1-1 draw.
“It is a blow for us,” added Bilic. “We know what he can give us and he showed it in the last couple of games he has been back, but to lose him is bad news, we are just hoping it won’t be too long.”
Carroll was due to return to the squad on Sunday, but was not risked, but Bilic admits that sooner or later he must give him a game.
“We are not talking about a player who has been out for a couple of weeks. I admire him, but he has been out for three months,” he said.
“You can’t keep the players in the fridge and then expect them to score a hat-trick like he did at Upton Park.
“It would be great for him to play a part, but if we are talking 90 minutes against Man United and another on Saturday, it is suicidal.
“Around 15, 20 minutes would be good. He would train anyway and there is no better training than playing a game.”
Bilic is likely to give a chance to some of his squad players tonight as they try to prove their worth.
That should mean a start for Edimilson Fernandes as well as Sofiane Feghouli and maybe even Havard Nordtveit.
One player likely to come in is goalkeeper Adrian who has had to contend with being dropped.
“He has been my number one in all the time I have been here,” said Bilic.
“When we dropped him I told him in person and of course he was disappointed, but he is a great professional and a great worker and he said that he is going to work even harder to get the shirt back.”
Despite the changes for tonight and the fact that Bilic admits that Saturday’s Premier League clash with Arsenal at the London Stadium is more important, he is still taking the competition very seriously
“We are going to make some changes, but we are putting a strong side out with the aim of winning the game,” he added.
“It is a big thing, that is why we are approaching this game with big ambitions.
“For a club who are not likely to win the league, it is a great chance. Of course we are all dreaming about what Leicester did last season and thinking that if they can do it, so can we. But let’s be honest we have more of a chance in the cups.
“I have been there three times as West Ham boss and drawn them all, but there can be no draws in this, we will have a winner and if we win we are two games from Wembley.”
Kick-off tonight is at 8pm with the match live on Sky Sports.