West Ham manager Slaven Bilic indicated Tuesday that Michail Antonio would return for their critical London derby match against Arsenal, while Diafra Sakho could also make a long awaited return.
In his pre-match press conference before Wednesday’s vital contest at the Emirates Stadium, Bilic expressed how the versatile Antonio had recovered from his hamstring injury, but that Aaron Cresswell would not be fit after suffering his own hamstring pull in Saturday’s 2-1 defeat to Hull City.
"Team news-wise, Cresswell is out,” Bilic said “He will miss the next couple of games and will return to training next week. Antonio is back. Mikey is available for tomorrow night and we'll decide today if he's going to start. It's a big boost for us as he's been great."
The Croatian opined about the amazing recovery of Sakho, as the Senegalese international’s fitness has drastically improved, from likely being out for the rest of the season after back surgery to possibly being in the 18 against Arsenal.
"Diafra is back and when you talk to him he says he is ready,” Bilic said. “He was out for a long time, had a back operation, and looks good. Diafra may be on the bench tomorrow. I haven't decided yet, but he is very, very close."
Bilic knows the sixth placed Gunners are in badly need of three points as well, as he is fully cognizant of the pressure Arsene Wenger is feeling at the moment.
“I watched Arsenal's game with Man City on Sunday twice and they were very motivated and up for it physically and tactically. I saw a few things. They have their problems otherwise there wouldn't be issues now. When they lose the ball, they are vulnerable. It's my second season, whereas Arsene has been there more than 20 years, so it's different but our recent results are similar."
And yet for another time, Bilic reiterated how confident he is at keeping his job, two days after he received the dreaded vote of confidence from the West Ham board.
"I don't have to read the 'papers to know my relationship with the Board,” he said. “I talk to the Chairman before and after every game. It's nice to hear it, but I know I have the confidence of the Board. When I wasn't worried before, I'm not relieved now."