Speculation is rife that West Ham United striker Michail Antonio will miss Tuesday’s game against West Bromwich Albion.
Antonio has been nursed back into the West Ham side following his latest hamstring injury.
West Ham’s only senior striker was awarded man of the match as he got the winner against Burnley on Saturday.
Report sparks Antonio fears as third game in eight days looms
Just as importantly Antonio completed 90 minutes for the second time in six days.
But that led to speculation he would not be risked for a third game in eight days when West Brom comes to the London Stadium tomorrow.
The likes of Claret & Hugh have claimed Antonio could be a doubt for West Brom as West Ham boss David Moyes was ‘coy’ over whether he could manage two games in four days – and a third in eight.
That sparked a meltdown from some West Ham fans on social media. Many supporters are angry Moyes has been left in this position by the club’s owners just as West Ham have set themselves up for a potentially record breaking season.
Nothing untoward about striker as Moyes comments suggest ‘robust’ star will be risked
But the truth is while Moyes was somewhat coy on the subject of Antonio in his post match press conference, he appeared to suggest the ‘robust’ striker WILL be risked against West Brom.
“We will have to look at it, we will see how the players recover in the next couple of days, but we will need to be careful with him at different times,” Moyes said in his post Burnley conference, as quoted by Football London reporter Tom Clark who was in attendance.
“We don’t expect him to play every minute in every game, so we will do what we can, but we are in a good run of form and if you’re a football player you have to be robust.
“And Micky certainly showed a great level of robustness in the last six months so hopefully, we can get him back to that.”
The proof as ever will come when the team sheet arrives at 7pm tomorrow night.
But Moyes only has untested youngster Mipo Odubeko in reserve. And he has had even less training in his own comeback from an even more serious hamstring injury than Antonio.
Antonio as a sub is an even bigger risk
Moyes could well start Odubeko with a view to bringing Antonio on.
But using Antonio as a substitute carries its own risks.
His muscles will not be properly warmed up. And if he does aggravate his hamstrings then it will cost Moyes two substitutes with only Andriy Yarmolenko as back-up.
The most likely scenario is that Antonio will start the game with a view to playing an hour or so.
Moyes will hope his forward line can fire and make things comfortable enough by then. If that is the case Odubeko could well be handed his debut.
West Brom have their tails up though. Sam Allardyce’s side secured a morale boosting 3-2 away win over bitter rivals Wolves last time out.