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Bilic: ‘Very difficult’ for Noble to play vs West Brom; Lanzini, Fernandes out again

The Hammers captain looks out for another game

West Ham United manager Slaven Bilic expressed his delight Thursday with record signing Marko Arnautovic returning to the squad for the club’s match against West Brom this weekend.

In his weekly pre-match press conference, Bilic shared how Mark Noble, Manuel Lanzini and Edimilson Fernandes look set to miss their second straight game at the Hawthorns on Saturday, but did indicate how Arnautovic coming back from his three match ban is a good problem to have.

“Mark got a knock on his knee, and it’s nothing serious but he obviously couldn’t play against Huddersfield,” the Croatian tactician said. “He trained today and it’s much better, nothing serious.”

“Fernandes will train in a couple of days but Lanzini hopefully will only be out for one or two more weeks. He is running and training with the ball – so far, so good.”

“Marko is back,” Bilic, speaking to the press before Saturday’s trip, confirmed. “He will be in the squad for the game against West Brom. It does [give us a selection headache]. It’s good to have him back.”

Bilic discussed how he was hopeful his side would build from the victory on Monday night, their first league win and points this campaign.

“It was so important to win the game but we have to continue like that. We were off training yesterday but we had a meeting before training today,” he indicated. “I said, if we think that because we beat Huddersfield we have done it, then we are wrong. We have to use the momentum.”

“We were in a position we didn’t like, and now we’ve won, we have got a boost. I’m expecting us, with the greatest respect to the opponent – and it will be hard – to use our confidence on Saturday.”

And the gregarious gaffe knows full well the challenges of playing against Tony Pulis’ West Brom side is, especially at their venue.

“They started well this year, and ok, they drew and lost one recently, but the games they won they won with typical results and a style,” Bilic said. “It’s not a big surprise for me. They have invested some money and they’re always very hard to beat. They’re a good team.”