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Bilic: I ‘expected’ Carroll for Stoke, but he’s out again

Make that 17 league games missed for the star forward

Besides West Ham not addressing the HRMC investigation, the other main headline in the latest Slaven Bilic’s press conference Thursday was the news of Andy Carroll being out for Stoke City.

It will be the 17th Premier League game the England striker has missed, and Bilic was clearly disappointed in seeing his star forward be unavailable again.

“I expected him this game against Stoke to be back, but he’s not,” the Croatian manager said. “He should be back for the next game against Spurs, so he should be.”

Captain Mark Noble and right back Sam Byram will return from suspension, and Sofiane Feghouli and Robert Snodgrass also are in contention for selection against the Mark Hughes-led side on Saturday.

Bilic emphasized how the Hammers still have work to do in order to secure another season in the Premier League. A win vs Stoke would certainly assure that.

“Still we need points, we need points, “ Bilic said. “The people are talking about 38, that we are safe. But it’s irrelevant. We have four games, we have a big game on Saturday. Big for us, big for them. We’re looking for points, they’re looking for points. They’re one point ahead of us. And we want to finish as good as possible, as high as possible.”