West Ham United manager Slaven Bilic officially ruled Michail Antonio out for this weekend’s fixture against relegation threatened Hull City Thursday morning.
In his usual pre-match press conference, Bilic also labeled midfielder Pedro Obiang gone for the season and vice-captain Winston Reid unavailable for the key contest on Saturday at the KCOM Stadium after they joined Antonio on the injured list in the 3-2 defeat to Leicester City almost a fortnight ago. However, captain Mark Noble will return to the squad, coming off the season-long injury bug that has plagued the Hammers from back in August.
With the team winless in five games (and with a three-game losing streak), a maximum result against a lesser side in danger of the drop is badly required.
“Robert Snodgrass is facing his old club,” Bilic said. “Hopefully he can get his first goal for West Ham on Saturday!”
In some really good news, Diafra Sakho, once feared to be gone for the rest of the season, returned to training Thursday. Although the Croatian tactician is being very cautious with the talented Senegalese forward, there is hope that Sakho could be back in the squad much sooner than most expected.
“He has been out for a long time now, as he had a back operation, which is not an easy or small injury,” Bilic said of Sakho. “It was a major one, so he has been training very good and active, first with the medical staff and fitness coaches on an individual basis, then he did some training with the Under-23s.”
“Thursday is the first day he is going to train with us without any restrictions, so he is back on a list of fit players for training, but then we have to consider the amount of time that he was out. Hopefully he is going to be back for us very soon, if it continues like this, which is great news for us, but the Hull game comes too early.”
With the mounting pressure the last month has heaped on his job status for a second time this season, Bilic reiterated that his focus hasn’t been rattled.
“Personally, my head is clear and I still have a job to do here,” he said. “I am still very motivated.”