After a resounding second half performance last week, West Ham United will seek a second consecutive victory in the Premier League Saturday afternoon at promotion side Middlesborough.
The 3-0 defeat of Crystal Palace has given the Hammers a needed boost in wake of the Dimitri Payet transfer request saga. And with the signing of Jose Fonte from Southampton, Slaven Bilic can declare that the last six days haven’t gone too bad for him or the club. However, as is the case with West Ham this season, the good news is followed by an avalanche of bad. That latest wave of misfortune came when centerback Angelo Ogbonna seemingly has been playing on what is deemed to be a potentially season ending injury, although undisclosed.
Fonte isn’t expected to be ready for this week’s game in opposition of a desperate BORO team looking to move further away from the bottom three. Fortunately for Bilic, Andy Carroll seems like another freak ailment (this time whiplash of the neck) won’t keep him out of the game. Sofiane Feghouli, Sam Byram and Winston Reid also look likely to shake off their nagging aches. But Alvaro Arbeloa, Arthur Masuaku, Havard Nordtveit, Diafra Sakho and Gokhan Tore are still out.
Meanwhile for Middlesborough, key midfield force Gaston Ramirez is out with a knee injury, a hamstring problem renders Antonio Barragan unavailable and Daniel Ayala is suspended.
The Riverside Stadium sees a return of West Ham for the first time in a few years, and should be a contest of both sides being organized, compact and threatening goal on the counter.
(The Lineups to come)