West Ham United’s chances of a winning start to the season took a shot in the arm with the news Newcastle United will be missing two key players for the curtain raiser.
West Ham entertain Newcastle at the London Stadium for the first game of the new campaign on Saturday September 12th.
The two sides faced each other at St James’s Park just last month and played out an entertaining 2-2 draw.
West Ham have a tough set of fixtures right through to November after the Newcastle game.
Hammers take on Magpies in curtain raiser
And some less optimistic Hammers fans are already labelling the clash against the Magpies a ‘must win’.
David Moyes’s side will be lifted then by news emerging today that Newcastle will be without goalkeeper star Martin Dubravka and striker Dwight Gayle for the trip to east London.
Dubravka has an ankle injury and is expected to be out for six to eight weeks. He will therefore miss the game against West Ham, the first time he will have missed a match for the Geordies in over 18 months.
Newcastle blow will give West Ham a lift as key duo are ruled out
That’s according to Slovakia head coach Pavel Haval who revealed the bad news on Thursday.
Haval told Sky Sports: “He (Dubravka) has problems with his ankle, he dropped out for six to eight weeks.
“I believe that he will be fine for the next matches (Slovakia’s October fixtures against Republic of Ireland, Scotland and Israel).”
Gayle is also facing a lengthy lay-off with his own ankle injury sustained in Tuesday’s pre-season victory over Crewe.
Gayle came on as a second-half substitute but lasted just 18 minutes.
Missing Hammers should be ready for big kick-off
The striker went for a scan on Wednesday and is understood to be out for months, rather than weeks (Sky Sports).
West Ham had five first team players missing from their friendlies this week.
Declan Rice, Issa Diop, Lukasz Fabianski, Ryan Fredericks and Robert Snodgrass were absent for the simultaneous games against Ipswich and Wycombe.
But insiders Claret & Hugh claim all were rested as precautions and should be fine for the big kick-off.