West Ham United may face a rejuvenated Huddersfield at the weekend but the Terriers will be without their most consistent performer.
West Ham had gone three Premier League matches without a victory before getting back to back to winning ways last time out with a fine 4-2 victory over Burnley.
Huddersfield got an even bigger monkey off their back, though, with their first win in nearly seven months over Fulham on Monday night.
Big boost for Pellegrini from Huddersfield win
After a topsy turvy season so far Manuel Pellegrini will be expecting his side to go for victory at Huddersfield on Saturday.
But he will be mindful the home side will have their tails up after their own confidence-building win.
There was a big boost for the Chilean, though, from that win after Huddersfield’s key central midfielder Philip Billing picked up a fifth booking of the season.
Rice can fill his boots in Billing absence
The big Dane is arguably the Terriers’ most important player in the heart of the engine room.
Billing is the legs in David Wagner’s midfield and turned in a superb performance against Fulham.
The 22-year-old may have proved a pivotal figure against West Ham given Pellegrini’s lack of options owing to a Premier League-worst injury list that has denied him Jack Wilshere, Carlos Sanchez and Manuel Lanzini while Mark Noble is also suspended for another two matches.
Time wasting could prove costly
Billing was booked for time wasting in the dying stages of Huddersfield’s win over Fulham.
It was his fifth of the season and which means he will miss the West Ham match as a result.
Now it’s up to Pellegrini and his own key central midfielder Declan Rice to make the most of it.
Do that and West Ham will find themselves safely ensconced in midtable going into the international break.
And when the Premier League recommences Pellegrini will very much be looking up rather than down.