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Bilic: Calleri will be key vs Sunderland

With Antonio out, it’s a big chance for the much criticized Calleri

With announcing that Michail Antonio will be out for the rest of the season, there were other notable words from West Ham manager Slaven Bilic in his latest weekly press conference Thursday morning.

The Hammers boss indicated that Sam Byram, Andy Carroll and Aaron Cresswell will look set to play Saturday against Premier League bottom dwellers Sunderland, a game that could see West Ham ensure themselves of no more relegation worries with a win.

In searching for someone to step up in wake of Antonio being lost for the season, Bilic has indicated that the much maligned Jonathan Calleri will play a major role on Saturday, either starting or coming off the bench.

"We're likely going to need both Andy and Jonathan on Saturday, and they'll share the minutes on the pitch,” Bilic said. “We're going to see about Jonathan Calleri. He's a very good professional. He is not a regular but he never dropped 1% of energy."

Bilic certainly knows that the Black Cats on Saturday will be even more desperate for all three points on Saturday than West Ham were last weekend.

“Sunderland is in a situation that they are desperate for a win. It's also a big game for us to get closer to securing our status. Nobody expected Sunderland to be safe just because they appointed a big name (like David Moyes). They had big names before. We know it's going to be extremely hard, but it's a good opportunity for us to get some points and get closer to safety.”

Watch Bilic’s press conference below: