West Ham skipper could be out of Arsenal clash
14:10 14 April 2014
PA Wire/Press Association Images
Hammers captain Kevin Nolan is struggling with a hamstring injury before the trip to the Emirates on Tuesday night
West Ham skipper Kevin Nolan is a major doubt for tomorrow night’s clash with Arsenal at the Emirates after limping out of the defeat against Liverpool with a hamstring injury.
The Hammers take on the FA Cup finalists looking to avenge the 5-1 mauling they suffered on their ground last season, but the absence of their captain will be a blow to those hopes.
“Kevin is our problem at the moment,” revealed manager Sam Allardyce after the game. “He came off with a hamstring against Liverpool so that is obviously one that we have to be very careful of.”
After five goals in February earned him a player of the month nomination, the midfielder hasn’t scored in six Premier League games now, before he was hit with this latest injury.
“It’s unusual for Kevin to sustain a muscle injury, I think it is the first of his career and we will be very careful about how we handle him,” said Allardyce.
“He is desperately want to play, so we’ll probably wait until tomorrow to see how he is.
“Nearly everyone else is fit and raring to go. We’ll pick a team that we think suits playing against Arsenal at the Emirates to go and get a result.”
Arsenal had a gruelling FA Cup semi-final with Wigan Atletic which went to penalties on Saturday evening, while the Hammers have not played since the previous Sunday, so will West Ham be able to take advantage?
“Whatever team Arsene Wenger puts out, we still have to play at our best to get a result, particularly on their own patch,” said Allardyce.
“It won’t be any easier than it ever has been to get a result at the Emirates because the players that are actually playing won’t feel fatigue until later in the game rather than at the beginning.
“We will have to be on song from the start and fully focused on the job to get something.”
With West Ham all but safe, does Allardyce still think that the team can push into the top 10 before the end of the season?
“I don’t think that we’ll get a top 10 finish now,” he admitted. “I think the best we could try and do is catch up with Stoke City.
“They have had a fantastic run recently and we’ve got to try and improve our position to get where they are.
“At the the moment it is a big game at Arsenal tomorrow night and I hope the players are looking forward to it. I hope they can repeat the performance they gave against Liverpool because we took them to the very edge.”
Joey O’Brien is back in training but unlikely to figure, while Italian loan star Marco Borriello is still suffering with a calf problem.