With few games remaining until the end of West Ham’s inconsistent season, the claret and blues finally welcome back their absentees as the clubs injury list starts to dissolve.
Having an international break allows players to regroup and recover from injuries and the loss at Chelsea and with this sees the return of George McCartney who has been out with a knee injury and top scorer Kevin Nolan will be back for the West Bromwich Albion game too as he recovers from a broken toe.
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There are different rumours about Mark Noble, with newspapers saying Nobes is expected to miss the rest of the season as he is due to have an operation on his shoulder but there has been no statement from the club to confirm this. Although club Co-chairman let his followers on Twitter know that we hope to have a fully fit side when we welcome Steve Clarke’s men.
Although I personally feel McCartney is out of his depth in the Premier League it is a massive welcome back, as if we did need back up for left back again, he would replace Joey O’Brien or vice versa and would stop West Ham fans from having a heart attack every time Emanuel Pogatetz comes on to the pitch to cover the position.
Nolan’s injury hasn’t really had a major effect on the side, having won and lost in the two games he’s missed but his leadership skills will be a welcome return; having said that, Winston Reid has done nothing wrong as stand-by captain.
Hopefully Nolan can find the net again on his return as he has currently scored one in his last 17 games. Compared to the start of the season where he couldn’t stop scoring.
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If Noble is out for the rest of the season then I think we will struggle in the centre of midfield. Yes you have cover with Jack Collison, Gary O’Neil and according to Sam Allardyce, even James Tomkins but there is no one like him in the squad who can control the pace of the game. His passes out wide to create space, holding on to the ball to find team mates plus his commitment and effort for the team cannot be replaced.
With the squad regrouping and injuries recovering, squad depth will be vital in our task of survival. With trips to Liverpool, Everton, Manchester City and Southampton, clubs who rely or have good home form to come, we need a fully fit squad and the best possible squad as although we’re a few points from safety you don’t want to rely on your goal difference to keep you up.
Overall the return of said players, apart from Noble, won’t bring much to the squad but it helps Allardyce pick his best side and with some favourable home games to come, hopefully we can pick up the points to guarantee survival.
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