West Ham's Carroll is out again but Winston set to return for Everton clash
PUBLISHED: 08:00 21 April 2017
PA Wire/PA Images
Hammers boss has selection problems for London Stadium showdown
West Ham striker Andy Carroll will sit out the Premier League clash with Everton at the London Stadium tomorrow (Saturday) after yet another recurrence of his groin injury.
The Geordie giant played the full 90 minutes in the 2-2 draw at the Stadium of Light last week, but manager Slaven Bilic revealed he felt the injury early on.
“Again, it is the adductor muscles,” said Bilic at his pre-match press conference.
“He felt it in the beginning of the game when he miskicked, or assisted for Andre’s (Ayew) goal and he said at that moment he felt it, but then again he played the whole game.
“He had a scan afterwards and it showed nothing major, but it was serious enough to rule him out of the Everton game.
“He should be back for the following match.”
That means Bilic has a choice between Ashley Fletcher and Jonathan Calleri for who plays up front, though he has not ruled out a return for Diafra Sakho after denying he had been in a row with the Senegal striker.
“I spoke about the things that were in the papers, but he was injured for the Sunderland game and he is supposed to train today (Thursday), so we are going to see,” he added.
“There wasn’t any row, I should know about that because it was me who spoke to him. He was injured for the game.
“The day before Sunderland we had training beforehand, he reported injured. Today (Thursday) he will train with us and we are going to see.”
One piece of good news will be the return of centre-back Winston Reid as the Hammers try to work out a way to stop Romelu Lukaku from making it 10 goals in 10 games against West Ham.
That could prompt a change of formation to one of three centre-backs, especially with the form of James Collins and the absence of the suspended Sam Byram at right-back.
“Winston is back from injury which is good for us,” said Bilic. “He is one of the most important players for us. He has been in full training all week, so he looks good and we are going to see.”
As for the options at his disposal to replace Byram at full-back, the Croatian was less certain.
After thinking for a moment, he said: “Limited. We have to, I wouldn’t say improvise because our options have played there before when Sam was out for a long time.
“We have two possibilities. To stay in the system where we got four points in the last two games, or to change the system to adjust to the situation. But no matter what we do, we will have played that before.”
He ruled out the prospect of playing either Arthur Masuaku or Aaron Cresswell as an emergency right-back and with Cheikhou Kouyate needed in midfield, it will mean either Havard Nordtveit at right-back, or a three-man centre-back line.
Whatever way West Ham play it is going to be a tough game, but Bilic is determined to get over the line as soon as possible.
“One win should be enough, “ said Bilic. “Some people are saying that 38 is enough, but there is still that magic number of 40.
“We have five games left and there are 15 points available. Every game is difficult, but we have shown that we are capable of winning any of them.”