Key West Ham trio are banned for the Europa Conference League banana skin against in-form Danish side Viborg FF this week.
West Ham face Viborg over two legs for the right to make the Europa Conference League group stage proper.
The first leg takes place at the London Stadium on Thursday evening with West Ham in desperate need of a morale boosting first win of the season.
David Moyes’ side have made a poor start to the season with back-to-back defeats against defending champions Man City and newly-promoted Nottingham Forest.
West Ham have looked pretty poor throughout pre-season. But some supporters are worried as in truth West Ham’s form and results have tailed off badly since last November.
They say winning becomes a habit. And while West Ham will surely be confident of beating Viborg over two legs, their opposition go into the first leg having won six of their last season games.
Key West Ham trio banned for Europa Conference League banana skin against in-form Danish side Viborg
And a key West Ham trio are banned for the Europa Conference League banana skin against in-form Danish side Viborg.
For the first leg in Stratford this week, West Ham will be without captain Declan Rice and vice-captain Aaron Cresswell.
Rice is suspended for both legs following comments made to the referee in the tunnel after the Europa League semi-final second leg defeat to Eintracht Frankfurt.
And Cresswell is also banned for the first leg against Viborg after his red card in the early exchanges of the same game. Yellow cards do not carry over into the following season’s UEFA competitions after the quarter-final stages. But red card suspensions do.
Manager Moyes completes the hat-trick of suspensions.
The Scot was handed a one-game ban for volleying a ball at a ball boy in Germany that night.
West Ham cannot afford to take this match lightly. The Hammers have paid the price for complacency when trying to qualify for Europe in the not too distant past, losing to Romanian minnows Astra Giurgiu two years in a row.
Being without the team’s three main leaders – the manager, captain and vice-captain – is a major concern.
Full focus is needed because for Viborg this will one of the games of their lives.