West Ham striker Albian Ajeti is in line to make his debut against Newport County, Football London reports. Manuel Pellegrini has told Football London that he expects Ajeti to feature against Newport.
The Hammers travel to Rodney Parade on Tuesday night for their banana-skin EFL Cup tie against Newport. Pellegrini usually rotates his squad for cup matches, a tactic that has been questioned by fans, and he has hinted that there could be changes.
Ajeti has been an unused substitute in two of the three games West Ham have played since his deadline-day move. But the Swiss striker’s patience is likely to be rewarded with minutes against League Two outfit Newport.
Manuel Pellegrini on Albian Ajeti and Goncalo Cardoso
Pellegrini told Football London: “I am sure that Ajeti will play. He deserves that opportunity, he is doing very well during training sessons.” After back-to-back games where he was left on the bench, this could be Ajeti’s time to shine.
West Ham’s other late summer signing will not play, though. Pellegrini was also asked about Goncalo Cardoso – the teenage centre-back joining from Boavista. The Portugese defender played for the U23 last weekend and is unlikely to play against Newport. The Irons boss added: “Goncalo is a young player who maybe needs some more time.”
Albian Ajeti can make instant impact
Ajeti has apparently been looking bright in training and he will be hoping to hit the ground running. If he is given a start against Newport, the 22-year-old has a golden opportunity to get his West Ham career up and running with a goal.
He is one of three natural strikers on West Ham’s books (four if you include Xande Silva). Javier Hernandez opened his account against Brighton while Sebastien Haller scored twice against Watford last weekend.
Ajeti will be determined to get off the mark too. This midweek fixture presents him with an opportunity to show Pellegrini what he can do in a competitive environment against lesser opposition. It would help him stake his claim for the Premier League.