Manuel Pellegrini may be forced to hand Andy Carroll his first Premier League start in 359 days, as Javier Hernandez joins Marko Arnautovic in the physio’s room.
Pellegrini confirmed after his side’s defeat to Watford on Saturday that Chicharito would have to see the club’s medical team before their trip to Southampton.
The Mexican international featured for 75 minutes during the 2-0 loss, before Grady Diangana was brought on as a late substitute when his teammate began to suffer with back and hamstring problems.
The Austrian forward was a critical loss for Pellegrini, when the 29-year-old pulled up with a hamstring injury at home to Cardiff, with the blow set to keep the 6 foot 4 ace out of action until the New Year.
If Hernandez’s assessment goes poorly in the coming days, his Chilean coach will have little alternative but to call on the injury-prone Carroll on December 27.
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Thanks to the ever-growing injury list, the provisional squad Pellegrini has to call on only includes two senior members capable of featuring as the striker – Carroll and the versatile Michail Antonio.
It would mark the former Liverpool and Newcastle forward’s first start in the Premier League in just under a year, having last laced up his boots for kick-off on January 2, as the Irons welcomed West Bromwich Albion to the London Stadium.
The midweek match saw Carroll bag both goals as the hosts overturned an early James McClean effort, but has since only managed to feature in nine of a possible 43 fixtures.
Out of those nine matches, the 6 foot 4 target man has netted a single effort, coming in a one-all draw at home to Stoke prior to their relegation.
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