The message from David Moyes ahead of tonight’s FA Cup tie at Stockport was clear; ‘get used to having players missing’.
West Ham go into the potential banana skin against National League opposition without several first team stars due to close contacts who have tested positive for Covid.
Ryan Fredericks is back after a period of isolation following a positive test for the virus.
Moyes reveals West Ham hit by Covid absentees for FA Cup tie
And now ‘one or two’ others will be missing despite not having tested positive themselves.
Moyes made the revelation in an interview with The Evening Standard.
The West Ham boss stopped short of naming the players.
He said it was not ethically right to do so – although all will become clear at around 7pm this evening.
But the Scot insists we must get used to having players missing given the prevalence of Covid across the country right now.
Hammers boss says ‘get used to it’ but refuses to name missing players
“We’ve had no positive tests but we have got one or two players who are having to isolate because they’ve been in contact with people, which is happening quite often,” Moyes told The Evening Standard.
“The situation at the moment, there are so many people catching it, there are a lot of people having to isolate because of that. We’ve got one or two in that situation as well.
“I don’t think it presents a big problem, I won’t give names out because ethically I think that’s the right thing to do. We’re not hiding anything and it won’t become any big shock Just like every club in the country there’s probably some people having to isolate at the moment.”
Moyes has no new injury concerns for the game beyond Lukasz Fabianski.
The Poland goalkeeper is expected to be fit for West Ham’s next league game against Burnley on Saturday.
So Darren Randolph is likely to continue in goal.
Moyes faces big dilemma over last man standing Antonio
Moyes’s big West Ham selection dilemma for the Stockport tie is what to do about Michail Antonio.
Having sold Sebastien Haller to Ajax for £20million on Friday, West Ham are left with Antonio as their only senior striker.
The forward may do the job of two players but his persistent injury issues mean he cannot be relied upon to stay fit.
And match fitness is something he lacks after another lengthy spell on the sidelines.
So Moyes the risk-reward balance of playing Antonio. Does he continue to give him minutes here and there in an effort to build him up slowly.
Or does he use the game as an opportunity to give Antonio a proper run out.
We’ll find out tonight.