West Ham United are set to turn to fringe figure Michail Antonio this weekend, with the flying winger set to get his first Premier League start in a Hammers jersey.
The 25-year-old moved to the Boleyn Ground in the summer from Nottingham Forest, but has had to bide his time to get an opportunity due to the stellar options available to Slaven Bilic in the final third.
However, with a host of players injured currently including Victor Moses, Diafra Sakho, Dimitri Payet and Manuel Lanzini, the new man is set to get an opportunity.
Bilic has been speaking about Antonio’s importance to the club ahead of West Ham’s home fixture against Stoke later today.
“He played the last 20 minutes against Man City and I told him at that time that he has to wait for this chance,” The Daily Star quote the Croatian as saying.
“We didn’t buy him not to play. The problem for him and the good situation for me is that we had in-form players in those positions that were playing really good.
“To be fair to the lad he worked hard and I tried to motivate him through those couple of talks.
“His chance came now and the way he behaves and trains and played for Forest, I expect a lot from him.”
Antonio excelled in the Championship with Forest, scoring 16 goals in 50 appearances and becoming one of the most dangerous players in the Championship in the process.
The sprightly forward will hope to impress against the Potters and tie down a place in Bilic’s side for the foreseeable future.