The injury situation at West Ham United seems to be constantly changing at the moment.
To be fair, its the same at most clubs. A succession of matches can be a real drain on resources and players who would normally be given the opportunity to rest between games aren’t getting much of a chance due to the intense fixture schedule.
The F.A. Cup replay against Shrewsbury Town has certainly put paid to a few Hammers plans for some additional days of rest and recuperation.
Instead of coming in this week for the relaxation option after the Huddersfield victory it will now be a full-on game with the visitors treating this as a cup-final of their own.
No doubt David Moyes will want to ring the changes; but before he can even get to think about that he needs to see who is available first!
Injury reports coming out of East London indicate that there are several West Ham United players who are seriously doubtful for the Shrewsbury match.
Michail Antonio, Winston Reid, Andy Carroll and Sam Byram are four who immediately spring to mind; with Chicharito reported to be unwell with a non-injury related illness.
It’s the time of year when players pick up viral infections and there’s rarely any warning. Players will simply phone in and report feeling unwell and will be immediately referred to the club doctor.
If the condition is thought to be even remotely infective then they’ll be told to stay away. It’s better to train with only one or two players missing rather than insisting that they turn up regardless and then go on to infect the whole club!
By all accounts the Monday morning session was light in nature; intended mainly for the management to assess who is likely to be fit for the cup-tie and who isn’t.
Of course, it’s never that straightforward. And with another league match due in a few days time David Moyes needs to take that into consideration as well.
It would be great to have a decent F.A. Cup run but at the end of the day the priority is to make sure that West Ham United are in the Premier League when the end of season comes.
To that end, David is likely to prioritise. There doesn’t seem to be any point in throwing players into the cup-tie who might not be anywhere near 100% fit when there are good, talented and available youngsters like Toni Martínez around who will relish the chance of making another appearance.
The changes David made against Shrewsbury the first time could well be repeated for the replay if he decides that the focus needs to remain on the league campaign and the quest for another three points this coming weekend.
As we said earlier, with the Monday session being a light one aimed specifically at rest and recuperation, he’ll likely have used that simply to gauge the fitness of the squad in general and players like Winston Reid and Andy Carroll in particular.
And as has so often been the case in recent weeks, it’s looking like yet another wait until the day of the game before making a decision.
In all probability David already knows in his own mind who is likely to start against Shrewsbury; but just needs to address a few fitness issues before committing himself either way.
He’ll be keen not to undo the recent progress by throwing players in who just need that little bit more time before coming back from injury.