It's been a longer break than usual for West Ham United since the last game against Chelsea just over a week ago; and that’s because of Monday night football on television.
The latter hasn’t been popular at all with a lot of supporters who either have to work on Mondays or who have children of a younger age for whom a late night generated by an evening kick off is a no-no; especially when school falls the next day.
From a club’s point of view, though, whether Monday night football suits or not is dependent on which area of the club it’s viewed from; and that’s the same for the management as it is for the directors.
While the executive side will be analysing the effect of evening versus traditional weekend attendances on ticket sales and sponsorship etc., the football management will be more concerned with matters directly affecting the team; such as injuries and of course recent results on the field.
If you’ve just taken a point at Chelsea and beaten one of your closest positional rivals then everyone will be champing at the bit to get on with the next game!
However, if the team has lost the last three fixtures and you have several players out injured but not too far away from making a return to the team, it can be a different story.
In practical terms the need to get the injured players back often takes priority over the desire to get at the next opposition as taking the three points can often depend on having a full squad to call upon.
It’s Cache 22 in many ways; and David Moyes at the moment will likely find himself feeling that he’s somewhere in between the two viewpoints.
Although keen to get on with the Stoke City match at the London Stadium on Monday, at the same time he’ll be thinking that James Collins et al. could do with another two or three days training before being included in the squad for such an important game.
West Ham’s injury list has certainly reduced in recent weeks thanks to the efforts of Gary Lewin and the Hammers medical team; but depending on who David intends to field against the Potters from that injury list as it was ten days ago his feelings about this game will be mixed.
With such a lot at stake the question will be whether to take a chance on anybody who may be almost ready to return as opposed to being outright fit and available will be a big decision to make.
But that’s something that David and his management team will have to decide for themselves; and it’s more than likely that those decisions will be taken at the last minute.
Even if David already knows in his own mind what his preferred starting eleven for Monday night would be he’s unlikely to make that common knowledge at this stage even within the club itself.
Football has few secrets and it wouldn’t take two minutes for Stoke manager Paul Lambert to get wind of what David is thinking long before the kick-off time!
In terms of the injury situation at West Ham at the moment, three players have featured most in discussions of this nature during the past week; James Collins (hamstring), Manuel Lanzini (knee ligament) and of course Andy Carroll (ankle).
I’m not even going to try to predict what David’s final line-up will be for Monday since so much depends on human factors in the next 24 hours in addition to the medical position; but there will be a lot to think about.
All three are reported to have made progress in the last week and if all the reports coming out of the East End are to be believed then there’s a good chance that all three will figure against Stoke; if not all together and at the same time then at least some of them for part of the proceedings.
It’s the type of situation where you just don’t envy David Moyes. We’re all managers at heart and like to think we’re more than capable of deciding the Hammer’s future for next season but it’s not that simple.
When people are back in training and so close to fitness as the injured trio of James Collins, Manuel Lanzini and Andy Carroll are all now reported to be, then it can be very easy to make the wrong decisions; and as everybody knows these can then come back to bite you later on in the season.
Let’s all just get behind everyone on the night and give David and the team as much support as possible!
COYI, or as Adrián would say... Vamos!!