West Ham United have landed a potential boost ahead of their Premier League meeting with Sheffield United as David Moyes is refusing to rule out striker Michail Antonio.
The Irons got a first taste of what life will be like should the forward suffer a serious injury on Tuesday night when eliminated from the FA Cup by Manchester United, whilst Antonio was not even named on the bench.
Moyes had opted to leave the 30-year-old at home for his side’s trip to Old Trafford, having deemed the attacker unfit to feature after showing signs of serious fatigue in last weekend’s goalless draw with Fulham.
Antonio had appeared vastly laboursome in his efforts at Craven Cottage after leading the line in victory over Aston Villa three days before, in what was only his third full 90 minutes since returning from a second hamstring injury of the campaign.
Moyes has now confirmed that while there is a chance the £11m-rated dynamo may still not be fit to face Sheffield United on Monday night, he is hopeful of seeing signs of progress in training over the coming days.
“I don’t think he is too bad; we are just being careful with him and he is a concern for Sheffield United but hopefully [he will be fit]. We will see in the next few days,” the Hammers boss said, via quotes by football.london.
Moyes named Andriy Yarmolenko at striker against Manchester United but lost the Ukraine international 10 minutes into the second half after he sustained knee ligament damage.
Mipo Odubeko replaced Yarmolenko to make only his second senior appearance for West Ham, but lasted just 58 minutes before being taken off in the final minutes of extra time for midfielder Manuel Lanzini in search of an equalising goal.
Moyes will love it to be true that Antonio will now be fit to feature against Sheffield United next Monday when the Blades travel to the London Stadium, as the prospect of tackling the Premier League season without the five-goal striker could scupper any hopes of securing a European qualifying berth this term.
Yarmolenko was extremely quiet at Old Trafford having seen little of the ball during his time on the field, while Pablo Fornals wasted his best chance to create something when the Spaniard failed to find options to his left or right with a pass straight to Victor Lindelof.
Jarrod Bowen was often silent in the first period, as well, before being taken off at the break without a single shot to his name. Yarmolenko, who registered a mere 16 touches, at least tried his luck once but saw his strike blocked, while West Ham as a team could only muster three efforts on Dean Henderson’s net over 120 minutes, per SofaScore.
Antonio’s presence was sorely missed against the Red Devils, with Moyes comfortable knowing the 30-year-old can create chances with 2.1 shots and chases the ball to register 32.3 touches a game in the Premier League this term. Aspects the West Ham boss will hope are at his disposal against Sheffield United next time out.