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West Ham: Billy McKinlay drops Craig Dawson update

West Ham United have been dealt a blow ahead of Thursday evening’s Europa Conference League play-off clash.

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That’s according to first-team coach Billy McKinlay, who – standing in for the suspended David Moyes in the pre-match press conference – revealed that, despite it initially appearing as if Craig Dawson’s injury setback was only minor, the 32-year-old will once again be unavailable for selection against Viborg FF tonight.

Regarding the centre-back’s current condition, the 53-year-old first-team coach said: “Craig has a problem with his quad, he’s missed a few weeks so he’s a short-term [injury] and hopefully won’t be too long.”

Big blow

While it is true that West Ham have added a new centre-back in the shape of Thilo Kehrer to their first-team squad this week, with the £10.1m signing looking to be available for selection in this evening’s fixture, the news that Dawson will once again be sidelined is sure to have come as a huge blow to McKinlay and the Hammers.

Indeed, at present, Kurt Zouma and – potentially – Kehrer are the club’s only available senior centre-backs, with Angelo Ogbonna, Nayef Aguerd and Dawson all being ruled out due to knocks – an eventuality that has seen right-back Ben Johnson start both of the Irons’ two Premier League fixtures in the heart of defence.

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Also, with both Declan Rice and Aaron Cresswell suspended for the visit of Viborg, McKinlay is somewhat lacking in experienced leaders for the European clash – something Dawson’s continued absence only adds towards.

Furthermore, considering just how impressive the £2.7m-rated defender was throughout West Ham’s Europa League run last season – averaging a SofaScore match rating of 7.17 over his ten appearances in the competition, ranking him as his side’s third-best player in the tournament – it is clear to see that the 32-year-old’s unavailability this evening is a huge blow.

As such, McKinlay will simply have to find a way to make do without Dawson for the Viborg clash – a game the Hammers must win if they wish to give themselves the best possible chance of qualifying for the Europa Conference League proper this season.

Article title: West Ham: Billy McKinlay drops Craig Dawson update

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